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77^ Pusan Perimeter 




Historical Branch, G-3 
Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps 
Washington, D. C, 1954 



APR 2 5 1968 


A N ability TO furnish skilled forces ro meet emergency situations on 
-iV. short notice has long been a hallmark of the Marine Corps. When 
the call came for such a force to be dispatched to Korea on 2 July 1950, 
the Corps was handicapped by rhc srricrures of a peacetime economy. 
Nevertheless, a composite brigade consisting of a regiment and an air 
group was made available within a week's time. 

With a reputation built largely on amphibious warfare, Marines of the 
1st Brigade were called upon to prove their versatility in sustained 
ground action. On three separate occasions within the embattled Perim- 
eter—south toward Sachon and twice along the Naktong River— these 
Marine units hurled the weight of their assault force at the enemy. All 
three attacks were successful, and at no point did Marines give ground 
except as ordered. The quality of their performance in the difficult days 
of the Pusan Perimeter fighting made them a valuable member of the 
United Nations team and earned new laurels for their Corps. 

Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., 
General, U. S. Marine Corps, 



This is the first volume of a planned series dealing with United 
States Marine Operations in Korea during the period 2 August 1950 
to 27 July 1953. Volume I is designed to give the military student and 
the casual reader an accurate and detailed account of the operations in 
which Marines of the 1st Provisional Brigade and Marine Air Group 33 
participated during the fighting in the Pusan Perimeter, from the date of 
their landing on 2 August until their withdrawal on 13 September 1950, 
in preparation for the Inchon landing. 

Since this is primarily a Marine Corps story, the activities of other 
services during this period are not described in detail except to present 
a proper background to the overall account. 

Many officers and men who participated in this campaign have con- 
tributed to the preparation of the book by answering inquiries, submit- 
ting to interviews, and commenting on the preliminary manuscript. 
Their assistance has been invaluable. Special acknowledgment is also 
extended to the Office of the Chief of Military History, Department of 
the Army, Pacific Section, and particularly Lieutenant Colonel Roy E, 
Appleman, USA, for enemy intelligence material; to the Marine Corps 
Board Study: An Evaluation of the Influence of Marine Corps Forces on the 
Course of the Korean War for its interpretations and conclusions; and to 
Life Magazine for courresy shown in permitting use of Korean photo- 
gtaphs made by Mr. David D. Duncan. Maps included herein were pre- 
pared by the Reproduction Section, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, 
Va. United States Army, Navy and Marine Corps photographs have also 
been used to illustrate this monograph. 

T. A. Worn ham, 
Brigadier General, U. S. Marine Corps. 

Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 




I Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 1 

The Korean Question— The Russo-Japanese War— Korea 
as a Japanese Colony — The Partition of Korea — Red 
Victory in China — Civil Strife in Korea 

II Red Aggression in Korea 19 

Units of the NKPA— NKPA Command and Leadership— 
The NKPA Infantry Division— NKPA Air and Armor— 
NKPA Officer Procurement Conscription— The NKPA 
Order of Battle 

III The Marine Brigade 37 

NKPA Gains of First Week-Early U. S. Decisions- 
Geography of Korea — U. S. Ground Forces in Korea — 
Requests for U. S. Marines— Activation of the Brigade 

IV The Advance Party 55 

Conference with CINCFE — The Washington Scene — 
The Advance Party in Japan— Voyage of the Brigade— 
The Advance Party in Korea— Crisis of the Eighth Army 

V Prelude to Battle 87 

Reconnaissance by Jeep— Brigade Air Lands — Landing 
of Ground Force— Bedlam on Pusan Water Front — The 
Brigade at Changwon— The Pusan Perimeter— Brigade 
Air Strikes First— Planning the Sachon-Chinju Offensive 

VI Action on Hill 342 1°3 

First Platoon Fight — The Perimeter on Hill 342 — Call 
for Artillery Fires — Task Force Kcan Stalled — General 
Craig Assumes Control— Enemy Attack at Dawn 

VII Advance to Kosong 119 

Heavy NKPA Resistance— Assault on Hill 255— Confu- 
sion at Tosan Junction— Brigade Artillery in Support- 
Encounter with Japanese Maps— Ambush at Tacdabok 
Pass— The Seizure of Kosong 





VIII Fight on Two Fronts 139 

The Kosong Turkey Shoot — The Changchon Ambush — 
Marines Ordered to New Sector — Attack of 3/5 to the 
Rear — Enemy Dawn Attack at Changchon — Breaking 
Off Action 

IX Battle of the Naktong 173 

Task Force Hill Organized — Planning the Next Opera- 
tion — Reconnaissance of Terrain — Air and Artillery 
Preparation— Company D on Objective—Attack of Com- 
pany E 

X Obong-ni Ridge 189 

Company B to the Attack — Advance of Company A — 
Defeat of Enemy Tanks — End of the First Day — Enemy 
Counterattack on Ridge— Obong-ni Ridge Secured— 
Supporting Arms Clear the Bulge 

XI Second Naktong 207 

The Famous Bean Patch — Planning for Inchon Landing — 
Return to the Naktong Bulge — Ail-Out NKPA Offen- 
sive — The Marines Jump Off — Progress of Brigade 
Attack— Assault on Hill 117 

XII Mission Completed , 227 

Collapse of the 9th NKPA Division— Attacks of 5 
September— Two Marine Tanks Killed— The Brigade's 
Final Action — Brigade Embarkation at Pus an — Results 
of Brigade Operations— Summaries and Conclusions 


A Glossary of Military Terms 245 

B Command and Staff List 247 

C Citations and Commendations 253 

Bibliography 257 

Index 261 



Sixteen-page sections of photographs follow pages 70 and 156. 

Maps and Sketches 

The Strategic Triangle 2 

The Far East 5 

Korea . ., 11 

NKPA Order of Battle 35 

NKPA Invasion, 15 July 1950 44 

Japan and Korea 61 

Eighth Army, Situation of Late July 69 

Brigade Action on the Southwestern Front 102 

Chindong-ni Area 107 

Sachon Offensive, 8-10 August 1950 130 

Sachon Offensive, 10 August 1950 133 

Sachon Offensive, 11 August 1950 134 

Sachon Offensive — Changchon Ambush 145 

Sachon Offensive, Situation 12-14 August 149 

Enemy Counterattack, Hill 202 154 

First Naktong Counteroffensive 180 

First Naktong, Situation 17 August 1950 185 

first Naktong, Situation 18 August 1950 199 

first Naktong, Seizure of Objective Two 202 

First Naktong, Sei zure of Objective Three 205 

Second Naktong Counteroffensive, 3-5 September 1950 218 

Second Nakrong, Marine Attacks of 3-4 September 1950 223 

Second Naktong, Enemy Counterattack 232 


Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 

The Historical Background— The Russo-Japanese War— Korea as a 
Japanese Colony— The Partition of Korea— Red Victory in China- 
Civil Strife in Korea 

IT meant little to most Americans on 25 June 1950 to read in their 
Sunday newspapers that civil strife had broken out in Korea. They 
could hardly have suspected that this remote Asiatic peninsula was to 
become the scene of the fourth most costly military effort of American 
history, both in blood and money, before the end of the year. Yet the 
danger of an explosion had been present ever since the end of World 
War II, when the United States and the Soviet Union rushed into the 
political vacuum created in Korea by the defeat of Japan. 

The Korean question came up officially for the first time at the Cairo 
Conference of December 1943. With Soviet Russia not yet being repre- 
sented as a belligerent in the Far East, the United States, Great Britain 
and China agreed that "in due course Korea shall become free and 
independent." 1 

Any discussion of this issue had to take into consideration Korea's 
status as a Japanese possession since 1910. Government, industry, com- 
merce, agriculture, transportation— every phase of Korean life had been 
a dministered by Japanese for the benefit of Japan. As a consequence, the 
25,000,000 inhabitants of the peninsula were woefully lacking in experi- 
ence to fit them for the responsibilities of independence. 

Syngman Rhee, the elderly Korean patriot, had long been clamoring 
for recognition of his Korean government in exile. The United States 
hung back because of reluctance to offend Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dic- 
tator, at a time when Russia was a powerful military ally. Moscow had a 
strong bargaining point, moreover, in the prospect of giving military 

Quoted in James F. Byrnes, Speaking Frankly (New York: Harper, 1947), 221. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

aid to the United States in the fight against Japan. Such an alliance was 
particularly desirable from the American viewpoint early in 1945 because 
of the losses resulting from Japanese kamikaze tactics. In the belief that 
active Soviet participation might shorten the war and save thousands of 
American lives, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was disposed to com- 
promise with Stalin. 

The two agreed informally at the Yalta Conference of February 1945 
rhat Korea should be independent ". . . and that if a transirion period 
were necessary, a trusteeship should be established," according to James 
F. Byrnes, United States Secretary of Srare. He added in his memoirs 

Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 3 

that "a desire to help the Koteans develop the skills and experience that 
would enable them to maintain their independence was the inspiration 
for President Roosevelt's acquiescence in the trusteeship idea." 2 

The Soviet dictator made a plea at Yalta for historical justice. Al- 
though Czar Nicholas II had been execrated as a tyrant and warmonger 
in Communist doctrine, Stalin demanded that the "wrongs" resulting 
from the Russo-Japanese War be righted 40 years later. The price of 
Soviet military aid against Japan, in short, was the restoration of Russian 
territory in the Far East that had been lost in the defeat of 1905. 

The Historical Background 

It was inevitable that the fate of Korea would be involved in any such 
readjustment. Korea is one of those tragic areas of the earth's surface 
which are destined in all ages to be a doorstep of strategy. As the focal 
point of the China-Russia- Japan triangle, the peninsula offers each of 
these powers a threshold for aggression against either of the other two. 
Possession of Korea has been for centuries an aim of aspiring conquerors 
m the Far East, and all three rival nations have had a turn. 

China was first. From ancient times down to the last quaitct of the 
19th century, the Chinese Empire held a loose suzerainty acknowledged 
by the Koreans. Japan won a brief foothold in the 16th century under 
the great war lord Hideyoshi, only to learn the painful lesson that con- 
trol of the sea is requisite to a seaborne invasion of a peninsula. Naval 
victories by the Koreans cut Hideyoshi's line of comunications, and he 
withdrew after frightful devastations which left an enduring tradition of 
fear and hate. Both Japan and Korea then entered upon a period of self- 
lr nposed isolation lasting until their political hibernation was rudely in- 
terrupted by Western nations clamoring for trade. 

The United States took the lead in inaugurating a new era in the Far 
East. Commodore Perry and his American warships opened up Japan to 
commerce in 1853. Several persuasive bombardments of coastal cities by 
American, British and French naval j^uns were required to end Japan's 
seclusion; and in 1871 an American squadron was sent to Korea after the 
destruction of an American merchant ship and massacre of its crew. 
United States Marines and bluejackets stormed Korean river forts de- 
fended by cannon. All objectives were taken and heavy casualties 

1 Byrnes, lac. cit. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

inflicted, but it remained for Japan to open up the "Hermit Kingdom" 
to trade 4 years later with the threat of war. 

Russia had not been a disinterested bystander during this era of can- 
non-ball diplomacy. Her participation in Far Eastern affairs dated back 
to the 17th century and had once extended to the North American 
mainland. The sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867 indicated a 
renunciation of this phase of expansion, but Russia had no intention of 
abandoning her ambitions in the Far East. Shortly after Japan compelled 
Korea to sign a treaty of amity, the Russians offered to train Korean of* 
fleers and lend military aid to the faction-ridden kingdom. 

At this point China took a hand. Suspecting that the two rival nations 
were dabbling in Korean affairs for purposes of their own, the Celestial 
Empire attempted to restore her suzerainty. 

This policy was bound to lead to a collision. Western nations were 
not surprised when Japan and China resorted to arms, but few observers 
expected the supposed dwarf to beat the giant with ease. Japan's well 
led army, equipped with the best modern weapons, landed at Chemulpo 
(Inchon) and captured the Chinese fortress at Pyongyang in northwest 
Korea. Sweeping across the Yalu into Manchuria, the invaders overran 
the strategic Liaotung Peninsula, taking Port Arthur and Dairen. 

It was all over in a few monrhs. When the Empire proper was threat- 
ened with invasion, the Chinese government sued for peace in 1895. 

The Japanese terms were more than severe, they were humiliating. 
They included: (1) a large indemnity; (2) the cession "in perpetuity" 
of the Liaotung Peninsula as well as Formosa and the Pescadores group; 
and (3) Chinese recognition of what the Japanese were pleased to call 
"Korean independence." 

But the victors had overdone it. Russia, Germany, and France formed 
the Triple Intervention which compelled Japan to relinquish the Liao- 
tung Peninsula. The three European powers preferred that this strategic 
bastion remain in the possession of China, which was ripe for despoil- 
ing at the convenience of the Western nations. 

Russia now assumed the role of a friend binding China's wounds. The 
secret treaty of alliance signed by the two empires in 1896 was aimed 
like a pistol at Japan. In return for promises of support in the event of 
further Japanese aggressions, China gave Russia the right to extend the 
Trans-Siberian Railroad to Vladivostok across Chinese territory in 

The precept was not lost upon other European nations. England, 
Germany, and France also established spheres of influence in China after 

30571} O-f-55 2 


The Pusan Perimeter 

forcing the government to lease territory or grant special privileges. And 
Russia added to former gains by a 25-year lease of the Liaotung 

China's Boxer Rebellion of 1900 interrupted the march of events, but 
two treaties in 1902 indicated that Japan and Russia would soon be at 
each other's throats. Japan acquired an ally in England, as a result of that 
nation's alarms over Muscovite designs, so that the neutrality of European 
powers was practically assured. Russia and China drew closer mean- 
while with a new treaty of alliance. The stage was set for a fight to the 
finish in the Far East. 

Possession of the Philippine Islands had given the United States a 
new intetest in Far Eastern affaits since the Spanish-American "War of 
1898. John Hay, Secretary of State, realized that the American "open 
door" policy was imperiled by the situation in Asia. 5 But he admitted in 
April 1903 that nothing short of the threat of armed force could have 
checked Russia's encroachments. 

The Russo-Japanese War 

A candid comparison would reveal a striking similarity between the ag- 
gressions of Czarist Russia in the early 1900's and those of Soviet Russia 
half a century larer. The expression "cold war" was not current in 1903, 
but the account of Russia's threats, seizures and violated agreements has 
a dismally familiar aspect to the modern reader. Rudyard Kipling paid a 
bitter tribure at the turn of the century to these techniques of the Rus- 
sian Bear in his lines: 

When he stands up like a tired man, tottering near and near; 
When he stands up as pleading, in wavering, man-brute guise, 
When he veils the hate and cunning of his little swinish eyes; 
When he shows as seeking quarter, with paws like hands in prayer, 
That is the time of peril— the time of the Truce of the Beat! 

Following the Sino-Japanese War, the truce between Russia and 
Japan in "independent" Korea was broken by both nations whenever a 
favorable opportunity arose. Borh of rhem intrigued constantly at Seoul. 
For a time, indeed, the Korean government was directed from the Rus- 
sian legation with the backing of Russian troops. 

J Pauline Tompkins, American-Russian Relations in the Far East (New York: Macrnillan, 
1949), 21. 

Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 


Twice, in 1896 and 1898, Russia and Japan signed agreements reaffirm- 
ing Korea's independence and promising anew to withdraw their forces. 
These pacts were promptly violated by both contestants for power, but 
Japan prepared more realistically for the forthcoming struggle. On a 
February night in 1904, without the formality of a declaration of war, a 
Japanese squadron attacked the Russian warships anchored at Port 
Arthur, This surprise blow was followed shortly by the landing of Japa- 
nese troops at Chemulpo. They advanced to the frontier and defeated 
the Russians in the battle of the Yalu— a victory that has been compared 
with the battle of Valmy in the French Revolution as a landmark of 

Certainly the West was made aware that an Oriental nation had risen 
to the stature of a world power for the firsr time in modern history. The 
value of Korea as a strategic springboard was demonstrated when Japa- 
nese land and sea forces isolated the fortresses on the Liaotung Penin- 
sula. Port Arthur fell after a bloody siege of 6 months. Next, the Japa- 
nese invaders of Manchuria defeated an army of 350,000 Russians and 
inflicted 150,000 casualties in the four- week battle of Mukden, This was 
the decisive clash on land; and in the one-sided naval battle of Tsushima, 
Admiral Togo annihilated the Baltic fleet which the Czar had ordered on 
the long voyage to the Pacific. 

The end came abruptly in the summer of 1905. In the Treaty of Ports- 
mouth, signed on 5 September, Russia ceded the southern parr of Sak- 
halin Island to the victors while recognizing their "paramount" interests 
in Korea. All rights in the Liaotung Peninsula went to Japan as well as 
important concessions in Manchuria. Not much was left to Russia in 
the Far Easr except a precarious foothold in northern Manchuria. 

Korea as a Japanese Colony 

For 5 years Japan kept up a pretense of a protectorate in Korea. Then, 
in 1910, came outright annexation. 

Europe's "balanced antagonisms" soon flared up in World War I, 
leaving Japan free to exploit Korea as a colony. Western observers 
might have noted such evidences of modernization as new docks, rail- 
roads, factories and highways. But they were administered by Japanese 
overseers as Koreans sank to the level of coolies without a voice in the 

Although Japan joined the fight against the Central Powers in World 


The Pman Perimeter 

War I, her military efforts were made against allies as well as enemies. 
Using Korea as a beachhead, she attempted to enlarge her empire on the 
Asiatic mainland at the expense of Russia, then in the throes of revo- 
lution. Three years after the Armistice, a Japanese army still occupied 
the Vladivostok area; but the United States took such a firm diplomatic 
stand that Tokyo backed down. 

This retreat was only a postponement. During the next decade Japan 
set up a strategic shield to the east and south by fortifying the mandated 
islands of the Pacific, awarded to her after the war. Treaties and agree- 
ments were violated whenever convenient, and in 1931 she turned west- 
ward again to satisfy her appetite for Russian and Chinese territory. 

The time was well chosen. With the Western nations in the depths 
of an industrial depression, Japan began a series of aggressions against 
the Chinese in Manchuria. The gains were consolidated in a puppet 
state known as Manchukuo, comprising a fertile and populous area as 
large as California. China was unable to offer much resistance, and So- 
viet Russia could not risk a major war in the Far East. Even so, some of 
the Soviet border clashes with the Japanese in time of "peace" were 
actually battles fought with tanks and planes. 

In 1937 came the Japanese invasion of China proper. Germany and 
Italy were launching aggressions of the same stamp in Europe and 
Africa, and the world was to know little stability until all three totali- 
tarian states had been crushed in World War II. 

Soviet Russia had a grim sttuggle for survival while resisting the full 
tide of Nazi invasion. But at the time of the Yalta Conference, Stalin 
was in a position to ask a stiff price for military aid in rhe Pacific. The 
United States agreed that the Port Arthur area and southern Sakhalin 
should be returned to Russia to tedress the "wrongs" of 1905. Concessions 
were also made in Manchuria and outer Mongolia. 

Stalin, for his part, consented to sign a treaty of friendship with Na- 
tionalist China as an ally of the United States. Later events made it evi- 
dent that he had no intention of keeping his pledges. On the contrary, 
Soviet policy already visioned a Communist empire in the Far East 
which would include China as well as Korea. 

The Yalta Agreement was stridently criticized in the United States 
after Stalin's duplicity became apparent. But the War Department took 
a realistic view as early as the spring of 1945: 

"The concessions to Russia on Far Eastern matters which were made at Yalta arc 
generally matters which are within the military power of Russia to obtain regardless 
of United States military action short of war. . . . The Russians can, if they choose, 

Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 


await the time when United States efforts will have practically completed the de- 
struction of Japanese military power and can then seize the objectives they desire at 
a cost to them relatively much less than would be occasioned by their entry into the 
war at an early date." A 

This was precisely what happened. Moscow waited to declare war 
until 8 August 1945—6 days before the imminent collapse of Japan. 
Soviet forces fought only a few actions in Siberia with a Japanese army 
stripped of planes for home defense. As a consequence, Russian propa- 
gandise found it hard to paint a convincing picture of "the heroic deeds 
of our brave Far Eastern warriors."- Obviously they had met little 
resistance while overrunning Manchuria and northern Korea to accept 
the surrender of nearly 600,000 Japanese troops, including 148 generals. 
These prisoners were sent to Siberia for years of servitude; and the "con- 
querors" despoiled Manchuria of heavy machinery, turbines, dynamos 
and rolling stock/' 

The value of this booty has been estimated at a billion dollars, and 
the forced labor of Japanese war prisoners during the next 5 years was 
worth at least another billion. Not satisfied with these spoils, Moscow 
also demanded a share in the occupation of Japan, This design was 
balked by General of the Army Douglas MacArrhur, supreme Allied 
commander, who made it plain that he needed no such assistance. 7 

Even after the guns fell silent, there was no peace. One enemy had 
been exchanged for another, since Soviet Russia took advantage of war- 
weary allies ro follow in the footsteps of Germany and Japan There was 
the same familiar pattern of encroachment both in Europe and the Far 
East. There were the same violations of treaties, the same unfriendly 
acts failing just short of hostilities. The cold war had begun. 

Oppression at home and aggression abroad— rhis had been the policy 
of Russia's czars, and it became the policy of Russia's dictators. Despot- 
'sm had been replaced by Communism, bur there was little difference. 
Communism proved to be an old tyranny presented as a new ideology, 
and Joseph Stalin succeeded where Nicholas II failed. Circumstances 

1 U. S. War Dept memo for Acting Sec of State, 21 May 45, quoted in Joseph C, Grew, 
Turbulent Era: A Diplomatic Recent of Forty Years (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1952), 

5 David j, Dallin, Soviet Russia and the Far East (New Haven: Yale University Press, 
1( >48), 213. 

'' Ibiit., 214, 244. Such seizures were in violation of international law, of course, and 
Soviet Russia had pledged the prompt repatriation of Japanese prisoners at the Potsdam 
Conference in July 1945. 

' Ibid., 214, 239. 


The Pman Perimeter 

were kinder to Stalin, and he gobbled up territory in Poland, Estonia, 
Latvia, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Rumania, Mon- 
golia and Manchuria. 

Never before had one man ruled so much of the earth's surface. Yet 
there was something neurotic and feat-ridden about the Kremlin's out- 
look which success could not cure. It has long been a historical theory 
thar this psychosis may be traced back to Russia's bondage in the Middle 
Ages under the Mongols and Tartars. At any rate, victory and enormous 
spoils did not give Moscow a sense of security in 1945. Buffer state was 
piled upon buffer state, and thousands of World War II prisoners were 
enslaved behind the "iron curtain" to build new Soviet military 

The Partition of Korea 

The importance of Korea in the Soviet scheme of things was indicated 
by the haste with which Russian troops crossed the frontier on 12 
August 1945, three days after the declaration of war. They were the van- 
guard of an army numbering a quarter of a million men led by General 
Ivan Chisryakov, a hero of the battle of Stalingrad. 

The surrender tetms called for a joint American and Soviet occupa- 
tion, with the 38th parallel serving as a temporary line of demarcation. 
Not until 8 September, however, did Lieutenant General John R. Hodge 
reach southern Korea with the first American troops. 

By that time the Russians had gone thtough their usual routine, and 
the machinery taken from northern Korea was estimated at 30 to 40 
petcent of the industrial potential. Looting by Soviet troops went un- 
punished, and regular supplies of food for the huge army were 
demanded from an impoverished people just freed of the Japanese yoke. 8 

The Russians had a tremendous advantage over United States occupa- 
tion forces. Since World War I more than a million Koreans had found 
a refuge from Japanese bondage on Russian or Chinese soil. Thousands 
of men had been indoctrinated with Communist principles and given 
military training to aid the Chinese Reds fighting the Japanese invadets 
of China. Thus in 1945 the Russians could count on the efforts of 
Korean revolutionists to establish Communist rule in their homeland 
behind a facade of democracy. 

The United States forces, on the contrary, did nor even have enough 

fl Ibid., 285. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

interpreters. They impressed the Koreans at first as being alien occupa- 
tion troops setting up a military government. Meanwhile, the Russians 
had installed an interim civil government at Pyongyang. Korean Reds 
filled the key positions, and Stalin's portraits and the hammer and sickle 
emblem were seen at political rallies, 

Koreans of all persuasions opposed the division of their country into 
two zones on either side of the 38th parallel. The Reds at Pyongyang 
contrived to lay the blame on the Americans. They made a further appeal 
to Koreans on both sides of the boundary by announcing a land reform 
in the northern zone. Ever since 1905 a Japanese landlord had been the 
hated symbol of oppression. Pyongyang won a great propaganda victory, 
therefore, by announcing the confiscation of all large estates, Korean as 
well as Japanese, and the division of the land among the peasantry. 

The bait was so tempting that the hook did not become apparent until 
too late. Then the beneficiaries of the Agrarian Reform discovered that 
they could neither sell not rent the land, nor could they use it as security 
for loans. If anyone ceased to work his holding, it reverted to the People's 
Committee, which allocated it to some other family. The State retained 
possession, in short, and the peasant remained as much of a serf as ever. 
Worse yet, the taxes disguised as "production quotas" eventually 
amounted to 60 percent of the total crop, which was more than the 
Japanese had extorted. 9 

This is a sample of the methods used to reduce North Korea to a 
police state, just as similar states were being organized in occupied lands 
of Europe by local Reds doing the bidding of Moscow. In the Soviet 
zone of Korea all banks, factories and industries of any consequence were 
nationalized by the so-called People's Committee. 1 " Military training for 
offensive warfare was given to men armed with captured Japanese weap- 
ons. Pressure was put upon these recruits to "volunteer" for combat 
service with the Chinese Reds waging a civil war against the 
Nationalists. 11 


Red Victory in China 

Moscow was secretly backing the Communists led by Mao Tse-tung in 
their efforts to wrest China from the Nationalist government of Chiang 

'J Robert T. Oliver, Why War Came to Korea (New York: Fordham University Press, 
1950)', 149. 

ln Dallin, op. at., 291. 
11 Oliver, op. dt. : 5. 

Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 


Kai-shek. Such activities, of course, were in violation of the treaty of 
friendship and alliance with Nationalist China which Stalin had signed 
on 14 August 1945. But agreements were never allowed to interfere with 
Soviet ambitions, and Moscow aimed to creare in Asia a bulwark of 
Communist pupper states extending from the Arctic to the tropics, 

Asiatic soil was peculiarly suited to the growth of such institutions. 
Although Communism derived originally from the theories of a Ger- 
man revolutionist, Karl Marx, it was adapted by Lenin and Stalin to the 
political climate of Asia. Human lives and liberties have always been 
held cheaply in the East, and absolutism has been the rule in govern- 
ment. Communism, as it developed in Russia after the revolution of 
1917, would probably have been betrer understood by Genghis Khan 
than Marx. For it is significant that no Western nation has ever em- 
braced this political faith voluntarily, even though it has attracted a 
minority of radicals and malcontents in nearly every country. 

Asia was ripe for change after World War II. In spire of Japan's defeat, 
that nation had made a good deal of progress with its "Asia for rhe 
Asiatics" propaganda. The Far East seethed with unrest in 1946, and 
Communism spread ominously rhrough a China weakened by three 
decades of invasion, revolution and civil war. 

While Nationalists and Communist armies contended for the ancient 
empire, an undeclared war went on in the background. This was the cold 
war between the United States and Soviet Russia as they supplied arms 
and munitions to the opposing forces. Russia also supplied troops and 
laborers. For it has been estimated that no less than 250,000 North 
Korean Reds were induced to serve in various capacities with the 
Chinese Communists in Manchuria. 1 : There the soldiers completed their 
military training in actual combat, with veteran Chinese officers as 

By 1948 there was no longer much doubt about the outcome in China, 
*n the battles of Tsinan, Changchun and Mukden, the Nationalists lost 
33 divisions, totaling more than 320,000 men, in killed, wounded and 
missing. Losses of equipment included 250,000 rifles and vast quantities 
of other arms and equipment. During the four and a half months follow- 
ing the fall of Tsinan in September 1948, the Nationalist losses were 
estimated at a million men and 400,000 rifles. Even planes of United 
States manufacture were captured by the Reds, who also acquired a 

11 GHQ, FECOM, MillntelSee, GS, Allied Translator and Interpreter Sec (FECOM, 
A Tl£), Enemy Forces (Interrogation Reports [InterRpt], Sup No. 4), 16. 


The P/tsan Perimeter 

cruiser that the British had transferred to the Nationalists." 

"The unfortunate but inescapable fact," concluded the United States 
State Department in 1949, "is that the ominous result of the civil war in 
China was beyond the control of the Government of the United States. 
Nothing that this country did or could have done within the reasonable 
limits of those capabilities could have changed that result; nothing that 
was left undone by this country could have contributed to it. It was the 
product of internal Chinese forces, forces which this country tried to 
influence but could not, A decision was arrived at within China, if only 
a decision by default." 14 

As a result, Mao Tse-tung's forces could claim a sweeping victory by 
the end of 1949. Only the island of Formosa was left to Chiang Kai-shek 
and his battered remnants. Meanwhile, it grew increasingly plain that 
Korea was destined to be the scene of the next great tug-of-war between 
Communism and the free nations. 

Civil Strife in Korea 

Not only had the Russians made the 38th Parallel a political boundary 
in Korea; they had also resisted all American artempts at unification. 
This meant that economic recovery was badly handicapped. For rhe 
mines, heavy industries and hydroelectric plants were located in the 
north, while the south bad most of the agriculture. Products once ex- 
changed with mutual benefit now had to be imported from abroad. 

Trusteeship was hotly resented by all Koreans, even though few of 
them had gained administrative or technical experience under the Japa- 
nese. This prejudice was exploited by Soviet propagandists who de- 
nounced the "undemocratic" American policy of bringing in administra- 
tors, technicians and educators. As a consequence, the United States 
military government made a poof showing at first in comparison to the 
puppet government of Communist-trained Koreans insralled at Pyong- 
yang by Russians pulling the strings behind the scenes. An ti- American 
propaganda won converts to the south as well as north of the 38th 
Parallel, with General Hodge being accused of maintaining a harsh mili- 
tary rule. 

At the Moscow Conference of 1945 the Soviet Union had agreed with 

» U. S. Dept of State, United States Relations With China (Washington, U. S. Govern- 
ment Ptinting Office [GPO], 1949), 157. 
1J Wiin xvi. 

Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 


the United States that the whole of Korea was to be given a democratic 
government after passing through the trusteeship phase. A Soviet- 
American Joint Commission was to meet and make recommendations 
for this purpose; but as early as 1946 it became evident that the Soviet 
representatives had been instructed to sabotage any attempt to cteate 
a united Korea with its own government. 

After the failure of the firsr year's efforts, Hodge ordered the establish- 
ment of an Interim Legislature at Seoul as the counterpart of the Peo- 
ple's Assembly at Pyongyang. Of the 90 seats, half were to be filled by 
popular vote and the remaining 45 by Korean appointees of the Mili- 
tary Government. The election was a triumph for the American-edu- 
cated Dr. Syngman Rhee and the rightists. Hodge tried to give the other 
South Korean factions a voice by appointing moderates and liberals, bur 
the Interim Legislature had no solution for the discontent in Korea as 
the economic situation went from bad to worse in spite of American aid. 

Although the Americans on the Joint Commission did their best, they 
Were blocked by all manner of Soviet-contrived delays and obstacles. 
Finally, in 1947, the United States submitted the question to the United 
Nations. After long discussion, the General Assembly resolved that all 
the people of Korea be given an opportunity in the spring of 1948 to 
elect a national assembly for the entire country. 

A commission representing nine member nations was appointed to 
visit Korea and supervise the voting. But the Russians not only refused 
to participate in the election; they went so far as to bar the commis- 
sioners from entering North Korea. 

The new National Assembly elected in May 1948 by South Korea had 
the task of forming a government. On 17 July the first constitution in 40 
years of Korean history was approved by the deputies, who elected 
Syngman Rhee to a 4-year term as president. 

It was an eventful summer south of the 38th Parallel. The Republic 
Or Korea came into being on 15 August, and on that day the American 
military government ended. John J. Muccio was appointed by President 
Truman to represent the United States in Korea with the rank of ambas- 
sador. Plans were made to withdraw the 50,000 United States occupation 
ttoops during the next 8 months, leaving only 500 officers and men as 
military instructors for the training of a Republic of Korea securiry force. 

In the northern zone the Communists organized demonstrations 
against the United Nations Commission. Strikes and disorders were 
fomented south of rhe 38rh Parallel, and 200,000 North Koreans 
marched in protest at Pyongyang. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

There was an air of urgency about such attempts to prevent the elec- 
tion in South Korea. The exposure of the Agrarian Reform as a fraud 
had hurt the Communists, and the disinterested spirit of the Unired 
States occupation was gaining recognition throughout Korea in spite of 
initial blunders. Pyongyang could not afford to let South Korea take 
the lead in forming a government, and July 1948 dated the creation of 
a Communist state known as the People's Democratic Republic of Korea. 
After adopting a constitution modeled after that of Communist Bul- 
garia, the Supreme People's Council claimed to represent all Korea. In 
justification it was charged that "American imperialists carried out a 
ruinous separate election and organized a so-called National Assembly 
with the support of a traitor minority and with the savage oppression of 
rhe majority of the Korean people." l? 

The Russians announced in December 1948 that they were withdraw- 
ing all occupation troops. It was no secret, however, that they would 
leave behind them an NK army that far surpassed the ROK military 
establishment. u ' Kim II Sung, the Red Korean prime minister, referred 
to it pointedly as a "superior army" in an address at Pyongyang. 

"We must strengthen and improve it," he declared. "Officers and men 
must establish iron discipline and must be proficient in the military and 
in combat techniques," 17 

Numbers at the end of 1948 were estimated at 60,000 regulars in addi- 
tion to constabulary, railroad guards, and ttainees. These troops were 
equipped by the Russians with captured Japanese weapons, and Russian 
arms were shipped into northern Korea to meet the needs of an expand- 
ing army. 1 H 

It was a military force of an entirely different character that American 
officers organized on the other side of the 38th Parallel. The new ROK 
army was strictly a defensive force, trained and equipped to maintain 
internal security and guard the border and seacoast. Neither tanks nor 
military planes were provided by the Americans, who leaned backward 
to avoid any suspicion of creating an instrument for offensive internecine 

" New York Times, 12 Jul 48, quoted in R-edvers Opie el aL, The Search for Peace Settle- 
ments (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1951), 311. 

'* R.OK, of course, denotes the Republic of Korea, and NK (North Korea) is the 
abbreviation usually applied to the self-styled People's Democratic Republic of Korea at 
Pyongyang. Both sets of initials are used more often as adjectives than nouns. See the 
Glossary in Appendix A for definitions of other symbols and military terms found in text. 

17 FECOM, ATIS, History af the North Korean Army, 23. 

'» Ibid. 

Korea, Doorstep of Strategy 


Raids by Red Korean troops across the border became a frequent 
occurrence throughout 1949. One of these forays, supported by artillery, 
was a large-scale NK rhrust into the Ongjin Peninsula. Heavy fighting 
resulted before rhe invaders were driven back into their own terrirory. 

Having failed to prevenr rhe formation of a democratic Korean gov- 
ernment—the only government in Korea recognized by the United 
Nations— the Reds at Pyongyang were making every efforr to wreck it. 
Since 80 percent of the ROK electric power originated north of the fron- 
tier, they were able to rerard economic recovery by cutting off the cur- 
rent at intervals. There was no other unfriendly act in the Communist 
bagful of tricks that Pyongyang neglected to employ while its radio sta- 
tions blared forth a propaganda of hatred. 

Early "in 1950 the situation grew more tense daily as thousands of 
veterans returned to North Korea after serving in the Communist armies 
which overran China. When Radio Pyongyang began making appeals 
for peace that spring, it should have become obvious to practiced ob- 
servers of Communist techniques that preparations were afoor for war. 
On 10 June 1950 the Pyongyang government announced a new plan for 
unificarion and peace after branding the top ROK officials as "traitors." 
The motive behind this proposal was apparently the usual Communist 
attempt to divide an enemy on the eve of an aggression. For the long- 
planned blow fell at 0400 {Korean time) on Sunday morning, 25 June 
1950, Russian-made tanks spearheaded the advance of the NK ground 
forces across the 38th Parallel, and Russian-made planes strafed Seoul 
and other sttategic centers. 

Captured NK documents offer proof that the invaders had already set 
the machinery of aggression in morion while making their plea for peace. 
This evidence included the written report of instructions given by one 
Lieutenant Han to a group of picked men on an intelligence mission. 
On 1 June 1950 rhey were to proceed by power boar to an island off" In- 
ebon, where confederates would help them make their way to the main- 
land, "Our mission," explained Han, "is to gather intelligence informa- 
tion concerning South Korean forces and routes of advance ahead of our 
tfoops. "We will perform this task by contacting our comrades who are 
scattered throughout the length and breadth of South Korea." 19 

The lieutenant explained that the forthcoming attack on South Korea 
^as to be the first step toward the "liberation" of the people of Asia. 

19 FECOM, AT1S, Dncummltiry Evidence of North Korean Aggression (lnterRpt, Sup No. 
i 65. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

And his concluding remarks leave no doubt as to the complete confi- 
dence with which the Korean Communists began the venture: 

"Within 2 months from the date of attack, Pusan should have fallen and South 
Korea will be again united with the North. The timetable for this operation of 2 
months' duration was determined by the possibility of United States forces interven- 
ing in the conflict. If this were not so, it would take our forces only 10 days to over- 
run South Korea." 20 


Red Aggression in Korea 

Units of North Korean Army—NKPA Command and Leader- 
ship — T 'he NKPA Infantry Division— NKP A Air and Armor— 
NKPA Officer Procurement and Conscription— The NKPA Order 

of Battle 

IT was an army of veterans that broke the world's peace in Korea. 
There were thousands of veterans of the Chinese civil war and Man- 
churian guerrilla operations. There were even a few scarred warriors who 
had served with the Soviet forces in such World War II operations as 
the defense of Stalingrad. 

Practically all the commissioned and noncommissioned officers were 
battle- hardened, and a majority of the rank and file had seen action. The 
origins of this army were deeply rooted in Asiatic soil. During World 
War II an endless stream of Koreans escaped from Japanese bondage 
and found a refuge in Soviet or Chinese territory. Some of them took to 
banditry, others were absorbed into the Soviet or Red Chinese armed 
forces. These refugees dreamed of a united and independent homeland; 
and at Yenan, China, the Chinese Communists encouraged this move- 
ment as early as 1939 by supplying arms ro a force known as the Korean 
Volunteer Army. During the first month alone the KVA attracted 3,000 
recruits, and at the end of the war an advance column marched back to 
Korea under a leader named Kim Mu Chong, 1 

Although the heads of the KVA had been thoroughly impregnated 
tyith Communist doctrine at Yenan, they were coldly received by General 
Chistyakov and the Russian occupation forces. It was a Soviet puppet 
Sf ate that the Kremlin wished to see established in Korea, not a Red- 
tinted independent Korean government. Communist right-thinking did 
not save Kim Mu Chong and his KVA troops from the humiliation of 

1 PECOM. ATIS, History of the North Korean Army, op. cit„ 17-28. 


20 The Pusar? Perimeter 

being stopped at rhe frontier in September 1945 and disarmed. 

The Russian commander piously justified his decision on grounds of 
upholding international law. But he offered to return the confiscated 
aims if the Korean Reds would retrace their steps and join the CCF 
fight against the Nationalists. He promised that after the struggle had 
been won, the KVA would be welcomed back to Korea. 2 

Accepting these terms, Kim Mu Chong marched inro Manchuria to 
aid the Chinese Reds. His force numbered nearly 20,000 the following 
spring, but the KVA lost its identity when the men were mingled with 
Chinese and Mongolians in the CCF Northeast Democratic United 
Army. Most of the officers and NCO's of rhe former KVA were organ- 
ized into teams to recruit and train Korean volunteers both in Manchu- 
ria and Korea. As combined military insttuctors and political commis- 
sars, they created an integrated Communist force out of such oddly 
assorred material as peasants, guetrillas and bandits. Used first as security 
troops and latet welded into a regular army structure, these thousands of 
Korean Reds undoubtedly had the principal parr in "liberating" Man- 
churia from the Chinese Nationalists. 

Meanwhile, the Russian occupation forces did not neglect the con- 
version of North Korea into a satellite state. One of the first steps was 
the establishment of a military academy at Pyongyang in the autumn of 
1945. Founded ostensibly for the training of police, it had as its primary 
purpose the instruction of army officers. Graduates of the fitst and sec- 
ond classes became teachers when branches of the academy were set up 
at Nanam, Sinuiju and Hamhung. These offshoots, known as the Peace 
Preservation Officers' Schools, rurned out the cadres which were later 
activated as the 1st, 2d and 3d Divisions of the new North Korean army 
For more than 2 years, however, the fiction was maintained that grad> 
ates were to patrol rural areas, protect railroads and guard the frontiei 

Units of North Korean Army 

Not until 8 February 1948 did the "North Korean People's Army" come 
into official being with the activation of the 1st, 2d and 3d Infantry 
Divisions. At that time there were some 30,000 rroops and 170,000 
trainees in North Korea, according to later United States Army intelli- 
gence estimates. 3 


Red Aggression in Korea 


The 4th Infantry Division was formed in 1948 from trainees plus a 
veteran regiment transferred from the 2d Division. Two new infantry 
divisions, the 5th and 6th, were organized the following year when 
Korean veterans of the 164th and 166th CCF Divisions returned as units 
with their arms and equipment. 4 

It is probable that the leaders of the North Korean state were com- 
mitted early in 1950 to the invasion of the Republic of Korea. At any 
■"ate, the training and organization of new units was accelerated during 
the spring months. From February to June nine new divisions were acti- 
vated -the 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th Infantry Divisions, 
10th Mechanized Infantry Division and 105rh Armored Division. 5 

Two factors combined to hasren the NKFA aggression. It had un- 
doubtedly become evident to the Kremlin in 1949 that the Republic of 
Korea could never be brought into the Communist fold by propaganda, 
subversion, incitation of disorders or any other means short of a victori- 
ous civil war. Moreover, a successful war of invasion was equally desir- 
able as a cure for political discontent at home. Not only was the 
Agrarian Reform resented everywhere in North Korea, but taxes had 
gone up as high as 60 percenr of the crops to maintain the top-heavy 
military structure and pay for tanks, planes, howitzers and other arms 
supplied by the Soviet Union. 

Although most of the heavy industries of Korea were located north 
°f the 38th Parallel, they included no arms planrs wirh the exception of 
a small factory capable of turning out submachineguns and ammuni- 
tion. North Korea was also able to produce 80 percent of its own POL 
products for military purposes and some of the army uniforms. Other 
supplies, all the way from the Tokarev semiautomatic pistol (adapted 
'.tam the U. S. .45 Colt) to the T-34 tank, wete imported from rhe 

S. S. R. 6 

Most of the weapons were old models of recent manufacrure. The 
heaviest load came by rail from Siberia rhrough Manchuria via Antung 
ltl d crossed the Yalu into Korea at Sinuiju. As many as three freight 
tf ains a day rumbled over the bridge between those cities and continued 
along the west coast to Pyongyang. Supplies were also received from 
Vladivostok by water to Chongjin or by the east coast rail line to 
wbnsan, 7 

* tbid. t 52-75. 
' W4. 

\ FSCOM, ATIS, North Korean Fortes (InterRpt, Sup No. 1), 17-23. 
305713 O-F-55 3 


The Pman Perimeter 

It must also be remembered that thousands of Korean veterans of the 
Chinese civil war returned with their arms and equipment, including 
American -manufactured weapons surrendered by the Nationalists. The 
NKPA was second only to the Soviet Army itself in the spring of 1950 
as the best armed and equipped military force of irs size in the Far Easr. 

The U. S. S. R. did nor limir its aid to arms. Lieutenant General 
Vasilev and a group of Soviet military instructors arrived ar Pyongyang 
in 1949 to train NKPA sraff and line officers for offensive warfare. About 
3,000 promising NKPA candidates were sent to Soviet schools that year 
for courses in such specialties as artillery, air and rank tactics. 

Of the original 14 NKPA divisions, the first 6 were composed largely 
of well trained troops. The 12th Division, like the 5th and 6th, con- 
sisted of Korean veterans of the Chinese civil war. Constabulary troops 
made up the 8rh and 9th, while the 7th, 13th, l4th, and 15th Infantry 
Divisions and the 10th Mechanized Infantry Division were formed of 
conscripted trainees for the most part. 8 

The picture grows confused in the spring of 1950, with 8 new divi- 
sions being organized in 5 months. Many of the recenrly drafted men 
received only the most sketchy training; and some of the older units 
were weakened by drawing off well trained men to stiffen the new out- 
fits. All accounts agree, however, that the NKPA leaders anticipated an 
effort of only a few days, ending with the destruction of the ROK army. 
This was not an unreasonable assumption, since a swarm of NKPA spies 
had brought back accurate reports of unpreparedness. Nor only was the 
Republic of Korea weak militarily, but a bad economic situation had 
been made worse by increased population due to immigration. 

Altogether, Pyongyang could put nearly 100,000 fairly well-trained 
and armed troops in the field, with about half of that number in reserve 
as replacements, occupation troops or consrabulary. Bur the problem 0/ 
man power did not worry Communists who were not squeamish about 
violations of international law. For the aggressors planned to make wat 
nourish war by conscripting both soldiers and laborers in invaded 
regions of the Republic of Korea. Ir was an old Asiatic custom. 


NKPA Command and Leadership 

With few exceptions, the Norrh Korean war leaders proved to be will- 
ing and able instruments of policies formulated in Moscow, Kim II 

• FECOM, ATIS, History of the Norrh Korean Army, op. cit„ 52-75. 

Sung, the prime minister and commander in chief, was an imposter 
named Kim Sung Chu who made a bid for popular support by taking 
the name of a dead Korean resistance hero. As a yourh he had fled from 
Korea and joined the Communist party in Manchuria, There he dis- 
tinguished himself in guerrilla operations against the Japanese. In 1938, 
after rising to the stature of a corps commander, he mer milirary re- 
verses and found a refuge in Soviet territory. Legend has it that he at- 
tended a Soviet military academy and took'part in the battle of Stalin- 
grad. However this may be, he returned to Korea in August 1945 as a 
35-year-old captain in the Soviet army of occupation.^ 

South Korean descriptions of Kim II Sung as an uneducated ruffian 
were doubdess prejudiced, but certainly he was a ruthless guerrilla leader 
who showed an uncommon aptitude for politics. His rise in the new 
North Korean state was spectacular, for in September 1948 he became 
Ae first prime minister. The following year he went to Moscow for con- 
ferences at the Kremlin, and nine days after the outbreak of civil war in 
Korea he was appointed commander in chief of the invading army while 
Staining his position as prime minister. 

In contrast to this rough diamond, Marshal Choe Yong Gun cut a 
reserved and dignified figure as deputy commander in chief and minister 
°f national defense. Born in Hongchon, Korea, at the turn of the cen- 
tUr y, he had rhe equivalent of a high school education. In 1925 he went 
t0 China and is believed to have attended the Whampoa Military 
Academy at Nanking and the Yenan Military School. At Yenan, after 
being converted to communism, he became a political instructor and 
'ater served in the 8th Route Army. Choe was commander of the Korean 
Volunteer Army - m 10 4i anc l foughr against the Japanese in Manchuria. 
; . Returning to Korea in 1945, he commanded the Cadre Training Center 

until 1948, when he was named the first commander in chief. 
| Even Choe's enemies in South Korea credited him with a high order 
( 0r intellectual capacity and moral courage. Despite his Communist party 
i Membership, he opposed the invasion of the Republic of Korea. He was 
c ool, moreover, toward Lieutenant General Vasilev and rhe orher Soviet 
advisers who reached Pyongyang in 1949 to prepare the Korean armed 

( i ' 90-99. Communist chiefs preferred to work behind a screen of secrecy and decep- 
1SIKd SO that a was d ' fficulc t0 obtain accurate personal dara. Not only did some of the 
U c j e ^ A war leaders have obscure origins, but they added to the difficulties of biographers by 
■ ''"crawly falsifying the record for propaganda purposes. It is to the credit of U.S. Army 
diligence officers rhat they have managed to piece out this material from prisoner inter- 
cations and captured enemy documents. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

forces for an offensive war. This attitude probably explains why he was 
sidetracked in March 1950, when Vasilev took charge of the combat 
training and re-equipment program. Although Choc was not on good 
terms with Kim II Sung at this time, he was regarded as a superior strate- 
gist and administrator. And after being bypassed temporarily, he con- 
rinued to be respected as a leader by the North Korean army and 

Nam II stood out as the most cosmopolitan and polished of the 
North Korean war leaders. Born in 1911, he was Kim II Sung's school- 
mate in Manchuria and the two remained lifelong friends. As a young 
man, Nam II made his way across the U. S. S. R. to Smolensk and at- 
tended college and a military academy. He entered the Soviet army at 
the outbreak of World War II and is said to have participared along with 
Kim II Sung in the Stalingrad defense. 

Both of them returned to Korea with the rank of captain in the Soviet 
army of occupation, and both entered upon successful Communist 
political careers. In 1948 Nam II was elected to the Supreme People's 
Council and became vice-minister of education in charge of military in- 
struction. The most Russianized of the North Korean leaders, he took 
pains to cultivate the good will of the Soviet advisers. Speaking English, 
Russian, and Chinese as well as Korean, he held an advantage over his 
North Korean rivals in such contacts. He also made a bettct appearance, 
being tall for an Oriental and always well turned out in a meticulously 
pressed uniform and gleaming boots. 

A major general without an active fiield comand at the outbreak of 
war, he was rapidly advanced to the rank of lieutenant general and chief 
of staff. His stern demeanor, while seated stiffly in his black Chrysler 
driven by a uniformed chauffeur, soon became one of the most impres- 
sive sights of Pyongyang. But his talents remained more political than 
military, and he never won the respect which the army accorded to Choe 
Yong Gun. 

Among the corps commanders, there was none more able than Lieu- 
tenant General Kim Ung. About 40 years old at the outbreak of war, he 
had graduared from rhe Kumchon Commercial School in Korea and the 
"Whampoa Military Academy in China. As an officer of the 8th Route 
Army, he won a reputation for daring in 1939 by tossing hand grenades 
into a conference of Japanese generals ar Peiping and escaping after in- 
flicting numerous casualties. Returning to Korea in 1946, he started as 
a regimental commander and made a relarively slow rise because of his 
CCF background. But after lining up with the Soviet faction in the 

Red Aggression in Korea 


army, he was promoted to the command of the 1st Division in 1948 and 
of I Cotps during the invasion. 

The rapid ascent of Lieutenant General Yu Kyong Su to the command 
°f HI Corps would indicate that promotion was sometimes due to 
political influence. A graduate of a Red Army tank school in 1938 at the 
age of 33, Yu served throughout World War II as a company grade 
officer in a Soviet tank unit. After his return to Korea, he married Kim II 
Sung's sister and shot up from the command of an NK tank regiment 
in 1948 to the rank of corps commander late in 1950. During the first 
few weeks of the invasion, he was awarded the highest NKPA decora- 
don, the "Hero of the Korean Democratic People's Republic," with a 
concurrent award, the "Order of the National Flag, 1st Class." 

On the other hand, the career of former Lieutenant General Kim Mu 
Chong, ex-commander of II Corps and ex-chief of artillery, was blasted 
b y the opposition of Kim II Sung and Nam II. A CCF veteran, Mu had 
served under Mao Tse-tung on the "Long March" as one of 30 Koreans 
to survive the ordeal. He commanded a Chinese artillery brigade and 
was rated the best CCF artilleryman. In 1945 he came back to Korea and 
conducted a speaking tour stressing the desirability of cooperating with 
Red China and omitting any reference to the Soviet Union, This lapse 
e *plains his failure in North Korean politics, but in deference to his 
high military reputation he was given command of II Corps in June 
1950. The poor showing made by his units on the central front was 
Scribed by Mu to the fact that Kim II Sung picked him for missions 
w hich could not succeed. Although he did not lack for support in the 
army, Mu was relieved of his command and other positions in the late , 
summer of 1950. Expulsion from the North Korean Labor Party followed 
after Kim II Sung denounced him in a speech for disobedience of orders. 

Mu's downfall was only one chapter in the bitter struggle for power 
waged by two opposing tactical schools in the North Korean army from 
^48 to 1950. Veterans of CCF campaigns against the Japanese and 
Chinese Nationalists upheld a system of large-scale guerrilla warfare 
refined into a militaty science. Approach marches under cover of dark- 
nes s, infiltrations, probing night attacks— these were the basic tactics 
empl y e{ j by Mao Tse Tung's forces for the conquest of China. Although 
•Mobility was the keynote, a rigid tactical system allowed little latitude 
°* decision to officers below the regimental level. School solutions were 
Provided for every military problem that could be foreseen, and many of 
the North Kotean officers had graduated from the CCF military 
academy at Yenan. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Another group of officers advocated the tactics learned at Soviet mili- 
tary schools and in Soviet campaigns of World War II. This system, of 
course, made the CCF tactics seem primitive in comparison. For the 
Russians placed much more dependence in armor and artillery as prep- 
aration for infantry envelopments. Such tactics called for more supplies 
and ammunition than could have been provided by the elementary CCF 

The CCF veterans seemed to have the upper hand in the North 
Korean army early in 1948. But a survey of NKPA officers' careers 
during the next 2 years indicates that their opponents triumphed. Thus, 
at the onset of civil war, most of the key positions in the army were 
filled by men who had hitched their wagons to the red star of Moscow, 
both militarily and politically. 

This does not mean that CCF tactics had been put aside entirely. On 
the contrary, these methods had evolved out of military poverty and 
were admirably adapted to an Asiatic peasant army. The North Korean 
forces, being compelled to import arms, were never able to afford 
enough planes, tanks, and artillery to make rhe best of the Soviet sys- 
tem. And it was inevitable that heavy losses of such equipment in 
combat would cause a reversion to CCF tactics. 

The NKPA Infantry Division 

No child ever bore a more striking likeness to its parent than did the 
NKPA to the Soviet organization of World War II. 

The army as a whole came under the overall control of General Head- 
quarters at Pyongyang, which planned and directed the invasion of ROK 
territory. As the troops advanced, a Front Headquarters was set up to 
control corps operations. This organization of Soviet origin was the 
highest tactical echelon of command. Normally including three or four 
corps of several divisions each, it resembled an army group in military 
establishments of other nations. Front Headquarters had only a wartime 
mission and could be disbanded in time of peace. 10 

Next to the corps in the chain of command was the infantry division, 
the basic tactical formation, modeled after that of the Red Army in 
World War II. Of rriangular design, numbering some 11,000 men, ir 
was reported by POW's to consist of a headquarters, three rifle regi- 

» FECOM, ATIS, North Korean Forces, op. rit„ 3-13. 

Red Aggression in Korea 


aients, an artillery regiment, a signal battalion, an antitank battalion, a 
training battalion, a reconnaissance troop, and such division rear services 
as medical, veterinary, transport, and supply units. 11 

Division Headquarters, with about 120 men, included the commander, 
a major general, and officers of the division and special staff. Closely as- 
sociated with the CG, and possessing almost as much power and respon- 
sibility, was the division political deputy, usually a senior colonel, who 
supervised politico-military activities and reporred any deviations from 
doctrine. This was a peculiarly Communistic institution, of course, and 
it was the duty of the deputy to see that officers and men of the division 
remained well indoctrinated. 

The NKPA rifle regiment, with a T/O strength of about 2,500 men, 
consisted of 3 rifle battalions and suppotting artillery. Each of these 
battalions, numbering some 650 officers and men, included 3 rifle com- 
panies, a heavy machinegun company, a mortar company, an antitank 
gun platoon and an antitank rifle platoon in addition to signal, medical, 
and supply platoons. 

An NKPA rifle company, which had a T/O srrength of about 150 
nien, was made up of a headquarters, 3 rifle platoons and a heavy ma- 
chinegun section. The rifle platoon had 4 squads and a T/O strength of 
45 men. Squad weapons were said to include a light machinegun, a sub- 
machinegun and Soviet Ml 89 1/30 rifles. Two hand grenades were 
carried by each rifleman. 

An army patterned after the Soviet system was certain to emphasize 
artillery, and the NKPA artillery reserve at the outset of the invasion 
consisted of 3 regiments — 1 attached to GHQ, and 1 to each of the 2 
corps operating at that time. But shortages of equipment and logistical 
problems made it necessary in actual combat for the NKPA to concen- 
trate most of its artillery potential within the rifle division. 

The organic artillery supporr of each division included a regiment 
with a T/O total 'of approximately 1,000 men. Two 76-mm. gun bat- 
talions, a 122-mm. howitzer battalion and a headquarters company num- 
bered some 250 men each. A battalion consisted of 3 firing batteries with 
12 artillery pieces each, and personnel carried M1938 carbines. 

There was also a self-propelied artillery battalion made up of 3 gun 
companies, a signal platoon and a rear services section with a total of 16 
$U-76 pieces. A lieutenant colonel commanded this unit, which had a 
T/O strength of 110 officers and men. 



The Pusan Perimeter 

The other major components of the NKPA infantry division were as 

Signal Battalion.— a wire company, radio company and head- 
quarters company, making a total of 260 officers and men. 

Antitank Battalion.— about 190 officers and men in three 45-mm. 
antitank companies and an antitank rifle company. 

Engineer BATTALION. — T/O of 250 officers and men carrying M1944 
rifles and equipped with picks, shovels, axes, saws and mine detectors. 

Training Battalion.— About 500 officers and men charged with 
the responsibility of training NCO's for the division. 

Reconnaissance Company.— an estimated strength of 4 officers and 
90 enhsred men equipped with 80 submachineguns, 20 Tokarev pistols, 
4 telescopes and 5 pairs of binoculars. 

Rear Services,— a medical battalion, a transport company^ a vereri- 
nary unit and a supply section. Of the 200 personnel in the medical bat- 
talion, about 60 were women, according to POW testimony. The 
Transport company, with some 70 men, was composed of 50 iVi-ton 
trucks, 6 or 7 motorcycles and 10 horse-drawn wagons. 12 

The NKPA infantry division, in short, was a faithful copy of the 
World War II Soviet model. But it must be remembered that the fore- 
going T/O and T/E statistics represented the ideal more often than the 
reality. Owing to the speeding up of preparations in anticipation of an 
easy victory, many NKPA units lacked their full quotas of men and 
equipment at the outset of the invasion. 

NKPA Air and Armor 

POW interrogations revealed that NKPA military aviation evolved 

from the North Korean Aviation Society, founded in 1945 at the Sinuiju 

Airfield by Colonel Lee Hwal, a Korean who had served in the Japa- 
nese air force. The organization consisted at first of about 70 students 

and 17 pilots who were veterans of Japanese air operations. Equipment 

included a few aircraft of Japanese manufacture and several gliders. 11 

In 1946 the Society was required to transfer its aircraft and trained 
personnel to the Aviation Section of the Pyongyang Military Academy. 
Soviet-trained Korean officers were placed in positions of responsibility 


» FECOM, ATIS, North Korean Air Force (InterRpt, Sup No. 100), 2-15. 

Red Aggression in Korea 


under the command of Colonel Wang Yun, a former captain in the 
Soviet air force who replaced Lee Hwal. 

The Aviarion Section numbered about 100 officers, 250 enlisted men 
and 500 students by November 1948. Estimates of aircraft are contra- 
dictory, but one source reported 7 Japanese trainers, 6 Japanese fighters 
and a Japanese twin-engine transport. Shortly afterwards the first Soviet 
aircraft were received, and the NKPA Air Force was created from the 
Aviation Section and moved to the Pyongyang air base. 

The final phase of development came in January 1950 with the ex- 
pansion of the air regiment into a division under the command of 
Wang Yun, promoted to major general. Strength of the unit in April 
1950 was estimated at about 1,675 officers and men, including 364 
officers, 76 pilots, 875 enlisted men, and 360 cadets. The receipt of more 
Soviet planes at this time brought the number of aircraft up to 178, in- 
cluding 78 YAK-7B fighters, 30 PO-2 primary and YAK- 18 advanced 
trainers, and 70 11-10 ground attack bombers. 

Captured documents indicate that the aviation training program was 
speeded up along with other NKPA acrivities during the last few 
months before the invasion. In June 1950 each pilot was requited to fly 
40 training missions and attend 40 hours of lectures. As preparations for 
the invasion neared completion, a forward displacement of tactical air- 
craft was put into effect.' ' 

The North Korean armored division, a copy of its Soviet counterpart, 
had only about half of the overall strength. Thus the NKPA 105 th 
Atmored Division, comprising some 6,000 officers and men, included 3 
medium tank regiments, the 107th, 109th, and 203d, with 40 tanks each. 
Organic supporting units were the 206th Mechanized Infantry Regiment 
and the 308th Armored Battalion equipped with self-propelled 76-mm. 

guns. POW reports also mentioned reconnaissance, engineer, signal, 
ordnance and medical battalions and a mixed unit identified as the 84$>th 

Anritank Regiment, attached to the division after the invasion started. n 
All reports indicate that the division was split in combat, with each 

tank regiment being assigned to an infantry division. Even the training 
of the regiments had been conducted separately, and there is no evidence 

of prewar maneuvers on the division level. 

Each tank regiment had an estimated T/O strength of about 600 

officers and men. The three medium tank battalions were supported by 

<? FECOM, ATIS, Enemy Forces, op. tit., 27-32. 


The Pusan 1 

a regimental submachincgun company, a supply and maintenance com- 
pany and a headquarters section in addition to engineer, signal, recon- 
naissance, and medical platoons. Forty T-34/85 medium tanks were di- 
vided into 13 for each battalion and 1 for the headquarters section, which 
also rated a CAZ/67 jeep. 

Responsibility for the indoctrination of the regiment rested with a 
political section headed by a lieutenant colonel. As assistants he had 2 
officers and 3 sergeants. 

An NKPA tank battalion included a headquarters section and three 
25-man companies, A company contained three platoons, each of which 
was assigned a medium tank. The standatd crew consisted of the com- 
mander, usually a senior lieutenant, the driver and assistant driver, the 
gunner in charge of the 85-mm. rifle, and the assistant gunner operating 
the 7.62-mm. machinegun. The usual ammunition load was 55 85-mm. 
shells and 2,000 rounds of machinegun ammunition. 

Not much was known about the 206th Mechanized Infantry Regi- 
ment, but it was believed to consist of three motorized infantry battal- 
ions, a 76-mm. howitzer battalion, a 45-mm. antitank battalion, a 
120-mm. mortar battalion, a signal company, and an NCO training 
company. 16 

NKPA Officer Procurement and Conscription 

Officer procurement problems were solved in large part by the fact that 
thousands of North Koreans had seen combat service with the CCF 
forces. Many of these veterans were qualified as junior officers or NCO's 
without further training. Remaining vacancies for company-grade offi- 
cers were filled by officer candidate schools or the commissioning of 
qualified NCO's. 

The West Point of the NKPA, located at Pyongyang, turned out an 
estimated 4,000 junior officers from the time of its activation in 1946 to 
the beginning of the invasion. Courses normally ranged in length from 
6 to 10 months, but were abbreviated to 3 months during the autumn 
of 1949 in anticipation of the invasion. After hostilities began, the need 
for replacement officers became so urgent that one entire class at the 
Pyongyang academy was commissioned wholesale on 10 July 1950 and 
sent to the front after 20 days of instruction,' 7 

i< Ibid, 

» FECOM, AXIS, North Korean Farces, op. fit., 35-42. 

Red Aggression in Korea 


Three Soviet officers, a colonel and two lieutenant colonels, reportedly 
acted as advisers to a faculty composed of NKPA majors. The five de- 
partments of the Academy were devoted to infantry, artillery, engineer- 
ing, signaling, and quartermasters' duties. 

A second military academy at Pyongyang specialized in subjects which 
Communists termed "cultural." So much importance was attached to 
political indoctrination that graduates of this school were commissioned 
as senior lieutenants and given unusual authority in their units. Although 
i 2-year Russian language course was offered, most of the candidates 
took the standard 9-month term. 

Branches of rhe Pyongyang military academy were established as 
officer candidate schools in Hamhung, Chinnampo, Chorwon, Mesanjin, 
Kaechon and Kanggye. Applicants were required to have an acceptable 
political background and -a 6-year minimum of schooling, though the 
last was sometimes waived. 

A command and staff school at Pyongyang offered advanced tactical 
and administrative courses at the battalion and regimental level to 
selected officers. At the other extreme, NCO schools were located at 
Sadong, Sinuiju, Sinchon and Nanam. Tactical instruction was given at 
the platoon and squad level with emphasis on weapons courses. NCO 
training was accelerated in preparation for hostilities, and 4,000 veterans 
of CCF service in Manchuria completed 2-month courses at the Sadong 
school alone in the spting of 1950. 

Technical training in aircraft, artillery, tank and engineering specialties 
was offered in schools for junior officers as well as enlisted men. But it 
appears that most of the officers above the company level received their 
instruction in Soviet schools. 18 

Conscription, according to POW accounts, was introduced as early as 
1948. In the rural disrricrs each myon (a political subdivision smaller 
than a county but comprising several villages) was given irs quota of 
recruirs to be furnished between the ages of 18 and 35. The village chiefs 
then assembled all the men in this age group and made their decisions 
on an arbitrary basis. Selectees had little or no hope of appeal, but were 
assured rhat provision would be made for their families during the 3-year 
term of service. ,y 

The system was much the same in North Korean cities, which were 
divided inro sections for conscription purposes. Sometimes the leaders in 

'•'Ibid, 29-31. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

urban areas called for volunteers. If the response was lacking in enthu- 
siasm, men were singled out and requested to "volunteer," This method 
was invariably successful, since a man who refused could be deprived of 

The conscription program was speeded up along with other prepara- 
tions as invasion plans neared completion. About 12,000 men were 
inducted from March through May 1950 and given 6 weeks of basic 
training at such camps as the No. 2 People's Training Center at Sinuiju. 

In some communities the men eligible for military service were 
requested to attend a meeting. Upon arrival, they were taken in trucks 
to a training center and compelled to enlist. 

Harsh as such methods might seem, they were gentle as compared to 
the forced conscription of ROK civilians after the invasion got under- 
way. Both men and women in captured cities were crowded into school 
buildings, given political indoctrination and forced to learn Communist 
songs. After a week of this curriculum, the men were inducted both as 
combat recruits and laboters. And though the women were rold that 
their service would be limited to duty as nurses or clerks, some of them 
were coerced into carrying our reconnaissance or espionage missions. 20 

The NKPA O rder of Battle 

The transition from a cold war to a shooting war in Korea should nor 
have surprised anyone familiar with the events of the past 2 years. For 
several hours, indeed, there was a reasonable doubt on the historic 
morning of 25 June 1950 whethet an undeclared war had begun or 
merely another large-scale NKPA raid across the frontier. 

But this time it was the real thing. Commencing at 0400, 7 infantry 
divisions and an armored division swept across the 38th Parallel, with 
2 infantry divisions in reserve. From right to left, the NKPA order of 
battle was as follows: 

The 6th Infantry Division along the west coast, sealing off the Ongjin 
Peninsula and moving on Kaesong; the 1st Infantry Division advancing 
on Kaesong and Seoul; the 4th and 3d Infantry Divisions and 105th 
Atmored Division attacking in west-central Korea and converging on 
Seoul; the 2d and 15th Infantry Divisions driving toward the Hwachon- 
Chunchon axis in east-central Korea; and the 5th Infantry Division tak- 

2 <> ibid. 

in Korea 


ing rhc route along the east coast. Following close behind were the two 
reserve infantry divisions, the 13th and 15th. 21 

There was no question as to the outcome in the minds of observers 
who knew the composition of rhe ROK army. The very name was mis- 
leading, for it might more accurately have been described as a large 
constabulary in process of being converted into an army. Given another 
year of training and added arms and equipment, the Republic of Korea 
would perhaps have built up an adequate defense establishment. But the 
enemy took good cate to strike while this development was still at the 
blueprint stage. 

In June 1949, at the conclusion of the occupation, the United States 
forces turned over arms and equipment to the value of about 
$110,000,000. These supplies included 100,000 small arms (rifles, pistols 
and machineguns) and 50,000,000 rounds of ammunition; more than 
4,900 vehicles of all types; about 2,000 2.36" rocket launchers and 40,000 
rounds of ammunition; and a large number of 105-mm, howitzers, 
37-mm. and 57-mm. antitank guns, and 60-mm. and 81-mm. morcars, 
together with 700,000 rounds of ammunition for those weapons. Twenty 
training planes (L4 and L5 types) were transferred as well as 79 light 
naval crafr suirable for patrolling the coast. 3 ' 

It is noteworthy that this list was limited to light atms for a constabu- 
lary of about 50,000 men. Tanks, military aircraft and medium or heavy 
artillery were significantly lacking. 

At the request of the ROK government, a Korean Military Advisory 
Group remained in South Korea after the conclusion of the American 
occupation. Composed of 500 United States Army officers and enlisted 
men, the KM AG took on the task of directing the training of a ROK 
constabulary. The group was under the control of Ambassador Muccio, 
since General MacArrhur's responsibiliry for the defense had ended 
along with the occupation. 23 

After the NKPA invasion, the United States was severely criticized in 
some quarters for failing to provide the Republic of Korea with arms 
and training equal to those of the enemy. American relucrancc was due 
in some measure to indiscreet declatations by that fiery old Korean pa- 
triot, Syngman Rhcc. The ROK president, 74 years old ar the outbreak 
of civil war, did not shrink from advocaring the unification of Korea by 

21 FECOM, ATIS, History of the North Korean Am}, 25-27. 

11 U. S. Military Academy, Dept of Mil Art and Eng (U. S. MilAcad), Operations in 
Korea (West Point. 1953). 4-5. 
» Ib id. 

The Pusan Perimeter 

armed force. On 20 February 1949 he predicted that his troops "could 
defeat North Korea within 2 weeks" if the U. S. S. R. did not interfere. 
Eight months later, on 7 October, his confidence had increased to the 
point where he was "sure that we could take Pyongyang in 3 days." 24 
Such remarks placed the United States in an uncomfortable position. 
If aid to the Republic of Korea were to include tanks, military aircraft 
and training for offensive warfare, Americans would be open to the 
charge of inciting civil strife. Communist propagandists would scream 
that accusation in any event, of course, but there would be grounds for 
the suspicion of other members of the United Nations. Ambassador 
Muccio made sure, therefore, that United States assistance did not extend 
beyond the legitimate needs of ROK frontier defense and internal 

The triangular ROK infantry division was modeled after the United 
States unit but numbered about 9,500 troops. Eight divisions and a regi- 
ment had been organized and partially trained by June 1950. They were 
the 1st, 2d, 3d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and Capital Divisions and the 17th 
Regiment.- 5 Only 4 of these divisions, the 1st, 2d, 6th, and 7th, had 
their full complement of 3 regiments. All rhe others had 2 except the 
5th, which had 2 and a battalion.- 26 

ROK military strength was estimated at 98,808 troops by the KMAG 
in June 1950. About 65,000 of rhem had been given unit training for 
combat. They were fairly proficient in the employment of small arms 
and mortars, but their instruction had not included defense against tanks. 
Command and staff work were still at a rudimentary stage, and both 
officers and NCO's needed seasoning. 

The ROK Army of June 1950 had made good progress, in short, 
when it is considered that most of its components had been activated 
within the past year. But it was no match for the Red Korean columns 
which attacked at dawn on 25 June 1950. The ROK order of battle, if 
such it could be called, consisted of a regiment and four infantry divi- 
sions ranged from left to right across the peninsula— the 17th Regiment 
and the 1st, 7th, 6th, and 8th Divisions. The remaining divisions were 
dispersed for purposes of internal security: the Capital at Seoul; the 2d 

JJ A. Wigfall Green, Epic of Korea (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1950), 125-26. 

15 The absence of a 4th Division is explained by an old Korean superstition. Because 
the symbol for that number resembled the ancient symbol for death, it was regarded as 
unlucky. Apparently the North Koreans managed to overcome this superstitution, how- 
ever, in numbering their units. 

26 LtCol Roy E. Appleman, USA, ms. history of UN operations in Korea, Jul- Nov 50. 


The Pusan Perimeter 


ac Chongju and Taejon; the 3d at Taegu; and the 5th at Kwangju. 

The ROK ftontier forces were not well disposed for defense in 
depth. Taken by surprise, they put up an ineffectual resistance despite 
brave fights here and there against odds. On other occasions the sight 
of an enemy tank or armored car was enough to scatter ROK riflemen, 
and the progress of the invading columns resembled an occupation 
rather than an attack. 

Before sundown on the day of invasion it appeared that NKPA leaders 
had not erred in allowing a timetable of 10 days for overrunning the 
Republic of Korea, The question now was whether the conflict could 
be confined to that Asiatic peninsula. Communist aggressions were no 
novelty, to be sure, either in Asia or Europe. But in the past there had 
always been some show of peaceable intentions, however hypocritical, 
or some shadow of legality. This was the first time that a Soviet puppet 
nation had been permitted to go as far as open warfare. Matters had 
come to a showdown, and it could only be interpreted as a challenge 
issued by Communism to the free nations of the world. 


The Marine Brigade 

NKPA Gains of First Week— Early United States Decisions- 
Geography of Korea — United States Ground Forces in Korea- 
Requests for United States Marines— Activation of the Brigade- 
Brigade Leadership 

At three o'clock in the morning of 25 June 1950 the telephone rang 
£\ in the New York suburban home of Trygve Lie, secretary-general 
of the United Nations. He was informed that North Korean forces had 
crossed the 38th Parallel to invade the Republic of Korea. 

The news had just been received by the United States Department of 
State directly from Seoul. Ambassador Muccio had emphasized that this 
was not one of the large-scale North Korean raids into ROK territory 
which had become an old story during the past 2 years. For his report 

"It would appear from the nature of the attack and the manner in which it was 
launched that it constitutes an all-out offensive against the Republic of Korea." 1 

The implications were distutbing. Every middle-aged American could 
recall the failure of the League of Nations to halt Japanese, Italian, and 
German aggressions of the 1930's with moral suasions. Even when eco- 
nomic sanctions were invoked, the aggressors went their way defiantly 
without respect for anyrhing short of armed force. And now history 
seemed to be repeating itself with dismaying fidelity as new aggressors 
challenged the new union of nations striving to maintain peace after 
World War II. 

There was even an ominous parallel in the fact that another civil con- 
flict in another peninsula had been the prelude to Armageddon in the 
1930's. For it might well have been asked if the Korea of 1950 were 
destined to become the Spain of a new world war. 

1 U. S. Dept of State, Guide h> the U. N, in Korea (Washington: GPO, 1951). 


50571} O-F-55 4 


The Pman Perimeter 

The answer of the United Nations was prompt and decisive. At 2 
o'clock in the afternoon on 25 June 1950, a meeting of the Security 
Council was called to order at New York. A dispatch had just been 
received from UNCOK— the United Nations Commission on Korea- 
reporting that four Soviet YAK-type aircraft had destroyed planes and 
jeeps on an airfield oursidc of Seoul, The railway station in the industrial 
suburb of Yongdungpo had also been strafed. 2 

By a unanimous vote of nine member nations (with the U. S. S. R. 
being significantly absent and Yugoslavia not voting) the blame for the 
aggression was placed squarely upon the North Korean invaders. They 
were enjoined to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw from ROK 

The United Nations had no armed might to enforce its decisions. But 
the Security Council did not intend to rely merely upon moral suasion 
or economic sanctions. At a second meeting, on 27 June, the Council 
proclaimed the NKPA attack a breach of world peace and asked member 
nations to assist the Republic of Korea in repelling the invasion. 

For the first rime in the war-racked 20th century, a group of nations 
banded together for peace had not only condemned an aggression but 
appealed to armed force to smite the aggressor. On the same day that the 
Security Council passed its historic resolution, the United States an- 
nounced that it was giving immediate military aid to the Republic of 

President Truman, as commander in chief, ordered American naval and 
air forces into action. Fifty-two other members of the United Nations 
apptoved the recommendations of the Security Council. Their pledges 
of assistance included aircraft, naval vessels, medical supplies, field ambu- 
lances, foodstuffs and straregic materials. 

Only 3 of the 56 nations tesponding to the Council were opposed to 
the majority decision. They were the Soviet Union and her two satellites, 
Poland and Czechoslovakia, which had been brought into the Commu- 
nist orbit by compulsion aftet World War II. 

On 29 June President Truman authorized General MacArthur ro send 
certain supporting United States ground force units to Korea. An Amer- 
ican naval blockade of the enrite Korean coast was ordered, and Japan- 
based Air Force planes were given authority to bomb specific military 
targets north of the 38th Parallel. 

These decisions were upheld by the wholehearted approval of neatly 

' Ibid. 

The Marine Brigade 


all Americans, according to contemporary newspapers. 1 Virtually the 
only dissenters were such left-wing extremists as the 9,000 who attended 
a "Hands off Korea" rally held early in July 1950 under Communist 
auspices in New York. 4 Barring such rule-proving exceptions, Amer- 
icans had long been smoldering with indignation at Soviet cold-war tac- 
tics. They applauded the resolute stand taken by the United Nations, 
and they were proud of their country for its response. Unfortunately, 
they did not anticipate that anything more serious than a brief "police 
action" would be necessary to settle affairs. Never in their wildest 
imaginations had it occurred to rhem that an Asiatic peasant army might 
be more than a match for all the United States ground forces in the Far 

NKPA Gains of First Week 

It was by no means a contemptible army, judged even by Western mili- 
tary standards, which ripped through ROK defenses after crossing the 
38th Parallel. The major effort was the two-pronged attack on Seoul, 
conducted with precision by the 1st NKPA Infantry Division, advanc- 
ing through Kaesong and Munsan while the 4th and 3d united south 
of the frontier with elements of the 105th Armored to proceed by way 
of the Yonchon-Uijongbu and Pochon-Uijongbu corridors. 

On the right the 6th Infantry Division made short work of overrun- 
ning the isolated Ongjin Peninsula and thrusting eastward toward 
Kaesong. On the left the offensive was covered by the drive of the 2d 
and 12th Infantry Divisions on Chunchon while the 5th made rapid 
gains along the east coast. 

In this area rhe North Koreans initiated the first amphibious oper- 
ations of the war with four Soviet-manufactured torpedo boats. Built 
entirely of aluminum, of about 16 gross tons displacement when fully 
loaded, these craft measured slightly over 19 meters in length and were 
powered by two 10-Cylinder engines rated at 850 horsepower each. With 
a crew of 8 men, a cruising speed of 20 to 25 knots and a range of 15 
hours, rhe boats carried 2 torpedoes and were armed with a 12.7-mm. 
heavy machinegun and 2 submachineguns.' 

During the first 5 days of the invasion, the 4 torpedo boats escorted 

J Newsweek, 10 Jul 50, 17. 
1 Ibid, 29. 

' FECOM, ATIS, Norib Korean Forces, op. cit., 45-6. 


The Punts Perimeter 

convoys which transported NKPA troops down the east coast for un- 
opposed landings as far south as Samchok. But on 2 July 1950 the tiny 
North Kotean "navy" was almost literally blown out of the water when 
it encountered UN Task Group 96.5 off Chuminjin while escorting 10 
converted trawlers. With more bravery than discretion, the small North 
Korean craft accepted battle with the American light cruiser Juneau and 
two British warships, the light cruiser Jamaica and the frigate Black 
Swan, Evidently the enemy hoped to score with a few torpedoes at the 
cost of a suicidal effort, but the U. N. guns sank 2 of the aluminum 
craft and drove a third to the beach, where it was soon destroyed along 
with 7 of the convoy vessels. The North Koreans were credited with 
"great gallantry" in the British dispatch after the fourth torpedo boat 
escaped/' But it was the last naval effort of any consequence by an en- 
emy strangled in the net of the UN blockade. 

On land the NKPA columns advanced almost at will during the first 
4 days. Nearly a hundred tanks and as many planes were employed by 
the two main columns advancing on Seoul, and on 27 June 1950 the 
ROK seat of government was removed to Taejon while Far East Air 
Force planes were evacuating United States citizens. ROK fugitives, 
winding southward in an endless stream of humanity, choked every 
road and mulri plied the difficulties of the defense. To add to their 
misery, one of the bridges across the river Han was blown prematurely 
when masses of Koreans were crossing. 

The fall of Seoul on the 28th ended the first stage of the offensive 
as the NKPA forces halted for regrouping. Chunchon had surrendered 
in east-central Korea, so that the invaders held a ragged line stretching 
from Chumunjin on the east coast through Chunchon, Kapyong and 
Seoul to the port of Inchon on the west coasr. 

The beaten and in some instances shattered ROK forces were mean- 
while falling back through Suwon in the hope of establishing new posi- 
tions of defense. 

Early United States Decisions 

A strategy of delaying actions was the only course open to General 
MacArthur for the time being. One of his first decisions led ro theestab- 

f 'Capt Walter fCarig, USN, Battle Report; The War in Korea (New York; Rinehart, 
1?52), 58-59. 

The Murine Brigade 41 

lishment on 27 June of the GHQ Advanced Command Group at Suwon 
under the command of Brigadier General John H. Church, USA. This 
group had as its primary mission the reorganization of the demoralized 
ROK forces, which were already reporting thousands of men missing in 
action. Secondary missions were to keep Tokyo informed as to military 
developments and expedite the delivery of supplies. As early as 27 June, 
119 tons of emergency supplies had been sent to Korea by air, and an 
additional 5,600 tons were being loaded on ships in Japan. 7 

American naval and air forces lost no time at getting into action after 
President Truman's authorization. United States Naval Forces in the 
Far East, under the command of Vice Admiral C Turner Joy, had as 
their principal element the Seventh Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral 
Arthur D. Struble. Its tactical organization, Task Force 77, immediately 
clamped down a blockade on the Korean coast after wiping out enemy 
naval opposition. Other warships of the Seventh Fleet were meanwhile 
blockading Formosa to guard against the possibility of Chinese Com- 
munist intervention by means of an attack on the last Nationalist 

The United States Far East Air Forces, commanded by Lieutenant 
General George E. Stratemcyer, USAF, consisted of eight and a half 
combat groups responsible for the defense of Japan, Okinawa, Guam 
and the Philippines. Primary missions assigned to the fighter and 
bomber squadrons were the elimination of NKPA air opposition and 
the retarding of enemy ground forces by means of interdictory air strikes 
on bases and supply routes. 

Geography of Korea 

Geography being a first cousin of strategy, maps of Korea were almost 
literally worth their weight in diamonds both in Tokyo and at the Pen- 
tagon. For that matter, they were nearly as rare as diamonds, and it be- 
came necessary in many instances to work with outdated Japanese maps. 

On the map of Asia the Korean peninsula resembles a thumb dipping 
down into the Yellow and Japan seas. For centuries it has been the sore 
thumb of Asiatic power politics, so that trouble in Korea resulted in a 
twinge being felt in the capitals of Europe. But small as Korea appears 
on the map, it is actually about 575 miles in length— a peninsula 

'U.S. Mil Acad, op. «'/., 7-8. 


The Puian Perimeter 

resembling Florida in shape but having about the area of Minnesota. 

Variations in climate are comparable to .the gradient from Maine to 
Georgia along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States. Extremes 
ranging from summer weather of 105° P. to winter temperatures of 40° 
below zero have been recorded. A monsoon season of floods is to be 
expected in July and August, followed by a period when typhoons arc 
a possibility. Altogether, it is a climate which can conttibute no little 
to the difficulties of a mechanized invader. 

It would be almost an understatement to say that Korea is moun- 
tainous. Few areas of the earth's surface are so consistently rugged. 
Bleak cliffs seem to thrust themselves dripping out of the sea on the 
East Korean littoral. The peaks become higher and more perpendicular 
as they march inland, until altitudes of 9,000 feet are reached. 

The principal chain of mountains extends from the Yalu in the north 
along the east coast to the Pusan area. Just south of the 38th parallel a 
spur branches off diagonally to southwest Korea in the region of 
Mokpu. The remainder of the peninsula consists largely of smaller 
ranges and foothills. 

The few broad valleys are found chiefly on the west coast, which has 
a good many indentations and estuaties. Here also are most of Korea's 
large rivers, flowing west and south. Of little aid to navigation, these 
streams are broad and deep enough to hamper military operations; and 
in the monsoon season, floods become a menace. 

As if the west coast were paying a penalty for being less mountainous, 
mud flats and islands hamper navigation. And here the tides are among 
the highest in the world, with an extreme range of about 30 feet exist- 
ing at Inchon in contrast to unusually moderate tides along the east 

The west and south are the agricultural areas of Korea. Nothing is 
wasted by peasanrs who till every inch of the lowland flats, rice paddies, 
and terraced hills. Due to their back-breaking toil rather than many 
natural advantages, Korea was able to export as much as half of its two 
food staples, rice and fish, under the Japanese administration. 

The population, estimated at 25,000,000 in 1945, increased borh by 
immigration and a high birth rate during the next 5 years until as many 
as 29,000,000 inhabitants were claimed. Seoul was a capital of a million 
and a half residents, and the two leading seaports, Pusan and Inchon, 
had not far from a quarter of a million each. Modern office buildings, 
factories and street railways were found in combination with muddy 
streets and thatched huts on the outskirts. 

The Marine Brigade 


A standard-gauge rail network, built largely by the Japanese, linked the 
principal cities and connected in the north with the Manchurian rail- 
ways. The highway system was good for an Asiatic country but inade- 
quate for the purpose of an invader on wheels and tracks. Hard-surfaced 
roads were few and far between, and the ordinary .earth roads were 
churned into bogs during the monsoon season. Air transportation was 
limited to only a few large airfields and emergency landing facilities. 

Altogether, Korea promised to be a tough nut to crack, when it came 
to geography, for the officers poring over maps in Tokyo. 

United States Ground Forces in Korea 

The United States ground forces in the Far East comprised the under- 
strength 7th, 24th, and 25th Infantry Divisions and the 1st Cavalry (dis- 
mounted) Division of the Eighth United States Army, which had been 
stationed in Japan since the end of World War II. These divisions had 
only about 70 percent of their personnel, the regiments being limited to 
two battalions. 

The explanation of these deficiencies goes back to the end of World 
War II. Popular clamor for the speedy discharge of the vicrorious 
United States forces had resulted in American military sinews becom- 
ing flabby during the next few years. Strenuous recruiting had been 
necessary to maintain the small army of occupation in Japan at part 
strength, and it was no secret that many of the men were attracted by 
the expectation of travel and light occupation duties. The possibility of 
battle had scarcely been anticipated when the invasion began, and com- 
bat readiness left a good deal to be desited. Training on the company 
level had been good on the whole, but both officers and men were 
handicapped by the lack of maneuvers for units larger than a battalion. 

Shortages in equipment were equally serious. There were not enough 
mortars, recoilless rifles and other weapons even if there had been 
enough maintainance parts and trained maintenance technicians. Most 
of the arms, moreover, consisted of worn World War II equipment 
which had seen its best days. Finally, the divisional armored units had 
been provided with light M24 tanks, instead of the heavier machines 
normally employed, because of the weak bridges in Japan." 

Ir was, in brief, an unprepared and ill-equipped little army of 

« U. S. MilAcad, lm at. 

The Marine Brigade 


occupation which represented the first line of United States defense in 
the Far East. 

On 2 July the advance elements of the 24th Infantry Division, com- 
manded by Major General William E Dean, were flown from Japan ro 
Korea. Two days later, on the American national holiday, the first con- 
tact of the United States ground forces with the enemy was made near 
Osan, about 8 miles south of Suwon. 

The American force consisted of 2 infantry companies, a battery of 
artillery, two 4.2" mortar platoons, a platoon of 75-mm. recoilless rifles, 
and six 2.36" rocket-launcher teams. Named Task Force Smith after its 
commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith, the first 
United States contingent collided on the morning of 5 July wirh a whole 
NKPA division supported by 30 T-34 tanks. Despite the odds against 
it, Task Force Smith put up a good delaying fight of 4 or 5 hours before 
pulling out with the loss of all equipment save small arms.'- 1 

On 7 July, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for 
a unified command in Korea, and President Truman named General 
MacArthur as commander in chief. Lieutenant General Walton H. 
Walker, who had been one of Patton's best officers in World War EE, 
was appointed commander of the Eighth Unired Srates Army in Korea 
(EUSAK) on 12 July, and 4 days later he assumed control of all ROK 
ground forces. 

The ROK army, as might be supposed, was badly battered and much 
in need of reorganization. At the end of the first week of invasion, the 
ROK missing in action had reached a total of about 34,000. Whole bat- 
talions had been scattered like chaff, yet it speaks well for the spirit of 
the troops that most of the missing eventually returned ro their units. 1 " 
The odds against them had made it a hopeless fight, but these Korean 
soldiers would give a good account of themselves when they had better 
training and equipment. 

The United States forces were finding it hard sledding, for that mat- 
ter. The remaining units of the 24th Infantry Division were in action by 
7 July, having arrived by sea from Japan. They were followed by the 
25th Infantry Division, commanded by Major General William B. 
Kean, which completed the movement to Korea on 14 July. 

These first outweighed United States forces had no choice except to 
trade space for time in a series of delaying actions. Although the units 

" 24th InfDiv, Supporting Documents, 24 Jvil-16 Au« SO, 6-7, 
'i Appleman, op. tit. 

The Pman Perimeter 

had to be employed piecemeal at first, they slowed up the main thrust 
of the enemy— the advance of three NKPA divisions, well supported by 
armor, down the Seoul-Taejon axis. 

Seldom in history have American forces ever endured a worse ordeal 
by fire. Unprepared morally as well as materially, snatched from soft 
occupation duties in Japan, they were suddenly plunged inro battle 
against heavier battalions. The "Land of the Morning Calm" was ro 
rhem a nightmare land of sullen mountains and stinking rice paddies. 
There was not even the momentary lift of band music and flag waving 
for these occupation troops, and they were not upheld by the discipline 
which stiffens the spines of old regulars. 

Considering what they were up against, the soldiers of the 24th and 
25th have an abiding claim to a salute from their countrymen. They 
fought the good fight, even though they could keep militarily solvent 
only by withdrawals between delaying actions. 

Officers as well as men were expendables in this Thermopylae of rhe 
rice paddies. Because of the large proportion of green troops, colonels 
and even generals literally led some of the counterattacks in the 18th- 
century manner. Colonel Robert R. Martin, commanding the 34th In- 
fantry of the 24th Division, fell in the thick of the fighting while rally- 
ing his troops. General Dean stayed with his forward units, personally 
firing one of the new 3.5" bazookas until the enemy broke through. He 
was reported missing for months, but turned up larer as the highest 
ranking United States military prisoner of the conflict in Korea. 

American light tanks could not cope with the enemy's T-34's; and 
even when the first few medium tanks arrived, they were equipped only 
wirh 75-mm. guns againsr rhe heavier NKPA armament. Not until the 
third week of ground force operations, moreover, did the United States 
artillery units receive 155-mm. howitzers to supplement their 105's. 

There was norhing rhat the ground forces could do but withdraw to 
ward the line of the tivcr Kum. Here a stand was made by 24th Division 
units at Taejon, an imporrant communications center. But the enemy 
managed to establish bridgeheads, and the fall of the town on 20 July 
marked the end of the first phase. 

Two days later the 24th Division, now commanded by General 
Church, was relieved south of Taejon by Major General Hobart R. Gay's 
1st Cavalry (dismounted) Division, which had landed at Pohang-dong 
on the 18th. And on 26 July the separate 29th Infantry RCT disem- 
barked at Chinju on the south coast after a voyage from Okinawa. 

The reinforced Eighth Army was sail too much outnumbered to vary 

The Marine Brigade 


its strategy of delay ing actions with sustained counterattacks. While the 
new American units and the 25th Division fell slowly back toward the 
line of the Naktong, the regrouped ROK divisions were assigned sec- 
tors toward the north and east, where a secondary WKPA offensive 
threatened Fohang-dong. Meanwhile, the exhausted 24th Division went 
into Eighth Army reserve. 

The ground forces would doubtless have been in a worse situation if 
it had not been for hard-hitting United States naval and air support. 
Major General Emmett O'Donnell's B-29 Superforts of the FEAF 
Bomber Command took off from Japanese bases ro fly strikes on enemy 
supply routes, communications hubs, marshaling yards and orher strate- 
gic targets all the way back to the Yalu. 

Task Force 77, ranging along the west coast, gave Pyongyang its first 
large-scale bombing on 3 July. Gull-winged F4U Corsairs, leading off 
from the Valley Forge flight deck with 5 -inch rockets, were followed by 
AD Sky raiders and new Douglas dive bombers. Bridges and railway 
yards were destroyed by raiders who shot down two YAK-type planes in 
the air and destroyed two on the ground. 

Along the east coast the Juneau and other warships of the Anglo- 
American blockading force parrolled the enemy's MSR, which followed 
the shoreline. Salvos from the cruisers, fired at the sheer cliffs, loosed 
avalanches of earth and rock to block the highway. Railways were mined 
and tunnels dynamited by commando parties landing from ships' boats. 

The combined U. N. efforts inflicted heavy material and personnel 
losses while slowing up the NKPA offensive. But it is a testimonial to 
Soviet and Red Korean preparations for aggression that the army of in- 
vasion kepr on rolling. There was even some prospecr late in July that 
the enemy would yet make good his boast of being able to take Pusan 
within 2 months in spite of United States intervention. 

Requests for United States Marines 

Upholding their long tradition as America's forcc-in-readiness, the Ma- 
rines have usually been among the first troops to sec action on a foreign 
shore. Thus it might have been asked what was holding them back at a 
time when Army troops in Korea were hard-pressed. 

The answer is that the Marines actually were the first United States 
ground forces to get into the fight after completing the long voyage 
from the American mainland. There were no Marine units of any size 

48 The Pman Perimeter 

In the Far East at the outset of the invasion. But not an hour was lost 
at the task of assembling an air-ground team at Camp Pendleton, 
California, and collecting the shipping. 

The spirit of impatience animating the Marine Corps is shown by an 
entry on the desk calendar of General Clifton B. Gates under the date of 
26 June 1950. This was rhe day afrer the news of the invasion reached 
Washington, and the Commandant commented: 

"SecNav's policy meeting called off. Nuts." 1 ' 

On the 28 th General Cates had his first conference with Admiral For- 
rest P. Sherman, Chief of Naval Opera rions. He noted on his calendar 
the next day: "Recommended to CNO and SecNav that FMF be em- 
ployed." Two days later General Cares "attended SecNav's conference." 
And on 3 July his calendar recorded more history: 

"Attended JCS meeting. Orders for employment of FMF approved." ,: 

The steps leading up to this decision may be traced back to the con- 
ference of 28 June, when Cates gave Sherman a summary of the strength 
of the Marine Corps. Along with other branches of the service, it had 
taken cuts in appropriations since World War II, so that total numbers 
were 74,279 men on active duty— 97 percent of authorized strength. The 
Fleet Marine Force had a strength of 27,656-11,853 in FMFPac (1st 
Marine Division, Reinf., and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing) and 15,803 in 
FMFLant (2d Marine Division, Reinf., and 2d Marine Aircraft Wing). 15 

Neither of these understrength divisions, General Cates pointed out, 
could raise much more than an RCT of combat-ready troops with sup- 
porting air. 

Admiral Sherman asked CinCPacFlt on 1 July how long it would take 
to move {a) a Marine BLT and (b) a Marine RCT from the Pacific 
Coast. Admiral Radford replied the next day that he could load the BLT 
in 4 days and sail in 6; and that he could load the RCT in 6 days and 
sail in 10. N 

Next, a dispatch from CNO to Admiral C. Turner Joy announced 
that a Marine RCT could be made available if General MacArthur de- 
sited it. COMNAVFE called personally on the general, who had just 
returned from a depressing inspection of the invasion front. Not only 

" Gen Clifton B. Cares Itr to authors, 7 Apr 54 (Cates, 7 Apr 54). 
11 Ibid. 

" Ernest H. Giusti, The Mobilization of the Murine Corps Reserve in the Korean Conflict 
(Washington, HQMC, G-i, HistSec. 1951), 1-2. 
M CNO disp to CinCPacFlt, 1 Jul 50; and CinCPacFlt disp to CNO, 2 Jul 50. 

The Marine Brigade 


did CINCFE accept immediately, but he showed unusual enthusiasm in 
expressing his appreciation. 15 

Sunday 2 July was the date of the message from General MacArthur 
requesting the immediate dispatch of a Marine RCT with supporting 
air to the Far East. CNO acted that same day. With the concurrence of 
JCS and the President, he ordered Admiral Radford to move a Marine 
RCT with appropriate air to the Far East for employment by General 
MacArthur. 115 

Later, when General Cates asked CNO how the historical decision 
had been accomplished, Admiral Sherman replied cryptically in baseball 
language, "From Cates to Sherman, to joy, to MacArthur, to JCS!" 17 

Activation of the Brigade 

Even at this early date there was talk both in Washington and Tokyo 
of forming an entire Marine division after mobilizing the Reserve. 
For the present, however, it sufficed to organize the RCT requested 
by General MacArthur. There could be little doubt that the assign- 
ment would be given to an air-ground team built around the two 
main West Coast units, the 5th Marines and Marine Aircraft Group 33. 
They were activated along with supporting units on 7 July as the 1st 
Provisional Marine Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Edward 
A. Craig, senior officer at Camp Pendleton. The air component, con- 
sisting of three squadrons of MAG-33, was placed under the command 
of Brigadier General Thomas H, Cushman, who was named deputy 
commander of the Brigade. 

Lieutenant General Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr., commanding general of 
FMFPac, and a G-3 staff officer, Colonel Victot H. Krulak, had been 
ordered on 4 July to proceed immediately to Tokyo and confer with 
General MacArthur. Before leaving, Shepherd found time to recommend 
formation of third platoons fot rifle companies of the 5th Marines, and 
CNO gave his approval the following day. 1 " 

Unfortunately, there was not enough time to add third rifle companies 

" Marine Corps Board, An Ei'tiluathn af the Influence af Mamie Ctirps Forces on the Course 
of the Korean War {4 Aug- 15 Dec 50) (MCBS) I-B-l, I-B-2, 

16 CINCFE disp to CNO, 2 Jul 50; CNO disp to CinCPatrFk, 2 Jul 50; and JCS disp to 
CINCFE, 3 Jul 50. 

" Cates, 7 Apr 54. 

18 CNO disp to CinCPacFlt, 5 Jul 50. 


50 The Pusan Perimeter 

to the battalions of the 5 th Marines which had been training with two 
companies on a peacetime basis. Camp Pendleton and its neighboring 
Marine Air Station, El Toro, hummed with day and night activity as the 
Brigade prepared to sail in a week. Weapons and clothing had to be is- 
sued, immunization shots given, and insurance and pay allotments made 
out. Meanwhile, telegrams were sent to summon Marines from posts 
and stations all over the United States. 

Among these Marines were the first helicopter pilots of the United 
States Armed Forces to be formed into a unit for overseas combat serv- 
ice. Large-scale production of rorary-wing aircraft had come too late to 
have any effect on the tactics of World War II, though a few Sikorsky 
machines had been used experimentally both in the European and Pa- 
cific theaters toward the end of the conflict. But it remained for the 
United States Marine Corps to take the lead in working our combat 
techniques and procedures after organizing an experimental squadron, 
HMX-1, at Quanrico in 1947. 

Seven pilots, 30 enlisted men and 4 H03S-1 Sikorsky 2-place helicop- 
ters were derached from HMX-1 on 8 July 1950 for service with the 
Brigade, Upon arrival at El Toro, these elements were combined with 8 
fixed- wing aircraft pilots, 33 enlisted men and 8 OY planes to form the 
Brigade's air observation squadron, VMO-6. 

This is an example of how units were assembled at Pendleton and El 
Toro. Major Vincent J. Gottschalk, appointed commanding officer of 
VMO-6 on 3 July, had orders to ready his squadron for shipment over- 
seas by the 11th. Thus he had just 48 hours, after the arrival of the 
Quantico contingent, in which to weld the elements of his outfit to- 
gether. Among his other problems, Gottschalk had to grapple with the 
fact that there were not enough OY's in good condition at El Toro. He 
found a solution by taking eight of these light observation planes over- 
seas with a view to cannibalizing four of them for parts when the need 
arose. 19 

There was not enough time in most instances for weapons familiariza- 
tion training. Company A of the 1st Tank Battalion had been accus- 
tomed to the M4A3 Medium tank with either the 75-mm. gun or the 
105-mm. howitzer. Activated on 7 July for service with the Brigade, the 
unit was equipped with M-26 "Pershing" tanks and 90-mm, guns. Cap- 
tain Gearl M. English, the commanding officer, managed to snatch 1 day 

" Lynn .Mont ross. Cavalry of the Sky (New York: Harper, 1954), Chapter VII. This 
. book is devoted entirely to the operations of the U. S. Marine helicopter units organized 
from 1947 to 195 5 for service both in the United States and overseas. 

The Marine Bri) 


in which to rake his men to the range with 2 of* the new machines. Each 
gunner and loader was limited to 2 rounds, and the 90-mm. guns 
were never fired again until they were taken into combat in Korea, 211 

Supporr battalions were cut down to company size, generally speak- 
ing, for service with the Brigade. Thus Company A of the 1st Morcr 
Transport Battalion numbered 6 officers and 107 men; and Company A 
of the 1st Engineer Battalion (reinf.) rotaled 8 officers and 209 men. 

The largest unir of the ground forces, of course, was the 5th Marines 
with 113 officers and 2,068 men commanded by Lieutenant Colonel 
Raymond L. Murray. Next came the 1st Battalion (reinf.) of the 11th 
Marines, numbering 37 officers and 455 men under rhe command of 
Lieutenanr Colonel Ransom H. Wood. 

Altogether, according to a report of 9 July 1950, the Brigade ground 
forces reached a total of 266 officers and 4,503 men, 21 

On this same date, the Brigade's air component amounted to 192 of- 
ficers and 1,358 men. The principal units were as follows: 


VMF-214 29 officers, 157 men, 24 F4U4B aircraft. 

VMF-323 29 officers, 157 men, 24 F4U4B aircraft. 

VMF(N)-513 15 officers, 98 men, 12 F4U5N aircraft. 

VMO-6 15 officers, 63 men, 8 OY and 4 H03S-1 aircraft,- 1 - 

Adding the ground force and air figures gives a grand total of 6,319— 
458 officers and 5,861 men — on 9 July 1950, Before sailing, however, 
the activation of third rifle platoons and the last-minute attachment of 
supporring troops brought the strength of the Brigade and its air com- 
ponenrs up to 6,534, 

Most of the equipment came from the great Marine supply depot at 
Barsrow in the California desert. Here were acres of "mothballed" 
rrucks, jeeps, DUKW's and amphibian rractors dating back to World 
War II. It has been aptly remarked, in fact, that "there were more vet- 
erans of Iwo and Okinawa among the vehicles than there were among 
rhe men who would drive them." 2J 

Rail and highway facilities were taxed to the limit by the endless 
caravan of equipment moving from Barstow to Pendleton and El Toro 

in 1st Tank Bn Special Action Report (SAR), 7 Jul- 29 Aug 50, in 1st Provisional 
Marine Brigade (Brig) SAR, 2 Aug-6 Sep 50. 
21 CinCPacFlt disp to CINCFE, 9 Jul 50. 
B Ibid. 

" Andrew Geer, The New Breed (New York: Harper, 1952), 2-7. This book about 
U, S.' Marine operations of 1950 in Korea contains an excellent account of die mounting 
out of the Brigade from Camp Pendleton. 


The Pmatt Perimeter 

after being hastily reconditioned and tested. Not all the arms were of 
World War II vintage, however, and the Marines of the Brigade were 
among rhc first American rroops to be issued the new 3.5" rocket 

Brigade Leadership 

It appeared to be a scene of mad confusion at Pendleton as Marines 
arrived hourly by train, bus, and plane. But the situation was kept well 
in hand by General Craig, who had seen many orhcr departures for 
battle during his 33 years in the Corps. Born in Connecricur and educated 
at the St. Johns Military Academy, Del afield, Wis., he was commissioned 
a Marine second lieutenant in 1917 at the age of 21. Throughour the 
next 3 decades he served with distinction both as a line and staff officer, 
and borh as student and instructor at the Marine Corps Schools. 

During World War II he was executive and later commanding officer 
of the 9th Marine Regiment, which he led in the landing at Empress 
Augusta Bay on Bougainville and the recapture of Guam in the 
Marianas. Awarded the Bronze Star and Navy Cross for gallantry in 
these operations, Craig became operations officer of the V Amphibious 
Corps in rime to help plan the I wo Jima operation. After the war he re- 
turned to Guam for 2 years in 1947 to command the 1st Provisional 
Marine Brigade, Fleet Marine Force, before becoming ADC to Major 
General Graves B. Erskine, CG 1st Marine Division, in 1949. 

The white hair and slender, erect figure of the dynamic Brigade com- 
mander would soon become a familiar sight to every platoon leader at 
the fronr. His assistant, General Cushman, was born in Sr. Louis, Mo. 
in 1895 and attended the University of Washington. Enlisting in the 
Marine Corps shortly after rhe outbreak of World War I, he completed 
flight training and was designated a naval aviaror. Subsequent tours of 
aviation duty in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Guam were varied with assign- 
ments as instructor at Pensacola and administrative officer with BuAer 
in Washingron. Cushman was a wing commander in World War II and 
was awarded a Bronze Star and Legion of Merit while serving in that 
capacity and later as chief of staff to the CG of Marine Aircraft Wings, 
Pacific. After the war he became commander of rhe Marine Corps Air 
Bases and CG of Aircraft, FMFPac. 

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, CO of the 5th Marines, was born in Los 
Angeles in 1913. He graduarcd from Texas A. and M. College in 1935 

The Marine Brigade 


and was commissioned a Marine second lieutenant. After prewar service 
in China and Iceland, he became a troop leader in three of the hardest- 
fought Marine operations of World War II— Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and 
Saipan. Awarded the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, and the Purple Heart 
medal, Murray made a name for heroism that was noteworthy even in 
Marine circles. 

This was no light achievement, for both CMC and CG FMFPac— 
General Gates and General Shepherd — had distinguished themselves as 
Marine combat leaders. Both were wounded in Marine operations of 
World War I, and borh won later honors during Caribbean actions of the 
Marine Corps. 

On 11 July, as Brigade preparations for sailing neared a climax. 
General Shepherd sent the first report of his visit to Korea, He and 
Colonel Krulak had held conferences with General MacArthur, Admiral 
Joy and Rear Admiral James H. Doyle, commanding Amphibious 
Planning Group I. The commander in chief, said Shepherd, already en- 
visioned a great amphibious operation with a complete Marine division 
and air components as his landing force. Not only was he "enthusiastic," 
about the employment of Marines, but he believed in the necessity for 
employing them as an air-ground team. 24 

MacArthur was "not sanguine" about the situation in Korea. He felt 
that the nature of enemy resistance, combined with the rugged terrain 
and the possibilities of Soviet or Red Chinese intervention, threatened 
to protract operations. Thus he favored a Marine amphibious landing 
far in the enemy's rear to cut off and destroy the North Korean columns 
of invasion." 

General Shepherd's report made it seem likely, just before the Brigade 
sailed, that its units would probably be absorbed soon into a Marine 
division with an amphibious mission. For the present, however, it was 
enough to start the movement from Pendleton and El Toro to San 
Diego, where the convoy awaited. MAG-33 had orders to embark in the 
transports Andersen and Achernar and rhe carrier (CVE-116) Badoeng 
Strait. The ground forces would make the voyage in the LSD's Fort 
Marion and Gunston Hail, the AKA's Alshain and Whiteside, and the 
APA's Pickaway, Clymer and Henrico, 16 

General Gates was on hand at the docks from 12 to 14 July when 

« CG FMFPac memo for record, "Visit to Far Ease Command," 1 1 Jul 50, 

» ibid. 

2 <> For the Brigade's task organization in detail, with names of commanding officers and 
strength of units, see Appendix B. 

m?n o-F-55 — i 


The Pusan Perimeter 

the Brigade sailed. His long cigarette holders were famous, and no 
second lieutenant in the Corps could throw a more military salute. As 
he eyed the ground forces filing past, the Commandant could only have 
felt that Marine traditions would be upheld. A good many of the PFC's, 
it is true, were too young to have seen action in World War II, though 
nearly all had been well grounded in fundamentals. Perhaps at the front 
they might become victims at first of their own over-anxiety. But they 
would doubtless grin sheepishly about it afterwards and become combat- 
hardened in a shorr time. 

A glance at the NCO's, the platoon leadets and company commanders 
of rhc Brigade could only have brought a gleam of pride to the Com- 
mandant's battlewise eye. With few exceptions, they were veterans of 
World War II who could be relied upon to get the best out of their men. 
And it may be that the Commandant was reminded of the remark attrib- 
uted to Gcnetal William T. Sherman during the Civil War: 

' "We have good corporals and sergeants and some good lieutenants and captains, 
and those are far more important than good generals." -* 7 

Nobody could give a more smooth and eloquent talk than General 
Cates before a Washington audience. But when it came to saying 
farewell ro the Brigade ttoops, he addressed them in the language of 

"You boys clean this up in a couple of months," said the Commandant, 
"or I'll be over to see you!" 28 

" Quoted in Lynn M on cross, War Through the Ages (New York: Harper, 194G), 609, 
JS Geer, op. at., 6. 


The Advance Party 

Conference With CINCFE—The Washington Scene— The Advance 
Party in Japan—Voyage of the Brigade— The Advance Party in 
Korea— Crisis of the Eighth Army 

As the ships of the Brigade vanished over the horizon, Generals Craig 
i\ and Cushman rushed to complete final administrative details at 
their respective West Coast bases. Then, in the early morning of 16 
July, the advance party, consisting of the two commanders and parts 
of their staffs, boarded a transport plane at the Marine Corps Air Station, 
El Toro, and began the long journey westward. 

The first stop was Pearl Harbor, X H., island "Pentagon" of America's 
vast defensive network in the Pacific. On arrival, Craig and Cushman 
immediately reported to General Shepherd. In company with him, the 
two visitors called briefly on Admiral Radford. Later, Shepherd, his staff, 
and the advance party met at Fleet Marine Force Headquarrers for a 
conference on the problems incident to the Marine commitment in 
combat. 1 

The Brigade commander painted a vivid picture of his provisional 
fighting force, stressing borh its potential and its handicaps. He re- 
peatedly emphasized the necessity for the addition of a third rifle com- 
pany to each infantry battalion. With equal fervor he spoke of the need 
for two more 105 -mm, howitzers in each battery of his artillery battalion. 
He told how the Brigade had been forced to leave behind much of its 
motor transport because of limited shipping space, and he requested that 
replacement vehicles be provided as soon as possible. 

His presentation was not falling on deaf ears; for combat-wise officers 
knew only too well how such shortages would restrict the maneuvera- 
bility, firepower, and mobility of the Brigade. Finally, Craig repeated his 

1 LtGen E. A. Craig Itr to authors, 25 Jan 54 (Craig, 25 Jan 54). 


The Pusan Perimeter 

earlier request that steps be taken immediately to provide for monthly 
replacement drafts of 800 men. If the peace-strength Marine unit were 
committed to combat in the near future, he said, it could ill afford to 
watch its already thin ranks dwindle indefinitely. - 

Leaving behind a maze of support and reinforcement problems for 
FMFPac Headquartets, the Brigade advance party boarded its plane and 
set out for Japan. On 19 July the big aircraft discharged its passengers 
at the Haneda Airport, near Tokyo. General Craig immediately reported 
to his naval superior, Admiral Joy. Later rhe Brigade commander, Gen- 
eral Cushman, and the other officers of rhe advance party, assembled at 
General Headquarters, Far East, where they would get their first glimpse 
of the war through the eyes of the United States Army. 

They conferred first with Major General Edward A. Almond, USA, 
and Brigadier General Edwin K, Wright, USA. The former was Chief of 
Staff to General MacArthur, while the latter served as G-3 on the staff. 
After Almond and Wright had received a report on the organization 
and capabilities of the Brigade air-ground team, rhey ushered the two 
Marine generals into the office of MacArthur. 3 

Conference With CINCFE 

The commander in chief greered his visitors cordially and expressed his 
pleasure at having Marines in his command again. He commented briefly 
on the excellence of the 1st Marine Division and certain Marine air 
units which had served under him during World War II. The general 
smiled as he mentioned a rumor to the effect that he had been prejudiced 
against Marines during the Pacific War. Sweeping aside this tale as being 
unfounded, he said that he had always held the greatest admiration for 
the Corps and would welcome its units to his command any time. 4 

Following this reception, MacArrhur meticulously briefed Craig and 
Cushman on the critical situation in Korea, where the war was already 
entering its fourth week. The commander in chief disclosed his tenta- 
tive plans for commitment of the Marines: he would hold rhe Brigade 
in Japan as a force in readiness until an entire Marine division could be 
assembled. If he could have this division by September, he intended to 
launch an amphibious assault against the pott of Inchon on the west 

3 Col J. L. Stewart interv with authors, 15 Jan 54 (Stewart, 15 Jan 54). 
» Ibid.; and Col K. H. Weir kr to CMC, 16 Apr 54 (Weir, 16 Apr 54) , 
i Craig, 25 Jan 54. 


The Advance Party 57 

coast. Striking deep in the Communist rear, he would sever the long 
lines of communications linking North Korean bases ro the Communist 
invaders at the front. Thus isolated, the latter would quickly wither, and 
Walker's Eighrh Army could smash out of the Pusan Pesiftyetec.* 

When MacArthur concluded, he and Craig discussed the organization 
of the Brigade. The Marine general emphasized that his command was 
an air-ground team; and though few in numbers, the Brigade had a 
powerful potential if its air arm remained inregral. MacArthur assured 
him that the Marine combinarion would remain intact, unless some 
emetgency dictated otherwise. 

Craig next mentioned that the infantry and artillery units of the 
Btigade were at peace strength. MacArthur was surprised to learn that 
each battalion had just 2 rifle companies, and each battery only 4 guns 
instead of 6. He was even more surprised to find that each of the 6 in- 
fantry companies had 50 men less than the number called for in Marine 
war tables. The Army leader had been aware of certain shortages when 
he sent a message to the Pentagon on 10 July, requesting the Joint 
Chiefs of Staff to authorize expansion of the Brigade to a full war- 
strength division/' He believed at the time, however, that the Btigade 
itself would be formed on a warrime basis. Now, confronted with reality, 
he ordered his chief of staff to prepare another dispatch to the Joint 
Chiefs, asking that the Brigade be expanded to full war strength and 
reirerating his request for an entire division.' 

MacArthur concluded rhe conference by informing Craig that the 
Marine fighting team would remain in Japan under operational control 
of Joy's headquarrers. This was good news to the Brigade commander. 
Being attached to the Naval command meant that his Marines would be 
free to rrain and otherwise prepare for their future amphibious mission; 
whereas an assignment to the Eighrh Army's rear echelon might have 
entailed time-consuming occupational and administrative duties. 51 

The Washington Scene 

Although the solution to Marine Corps problems had seemed simple- 
enough in Mac Arthur's office, it was quite another srory on the other 

5 Ibiii.; and Brig SAR, 2 Aug-6 Sep 50, basic rpt. 
"CINCPEdisproJCS, 10 Jul 50. 
7 CINCFE disp toJCS, 19 Jul 50. 
» Brig SAR, he. at. 


The Pman Perimeter 

side of the world in Washington, The Joint Chiefs of Staff had rendered 
no decision on the general's 10 July request for a Marine division. Never- 
theless, General Gates ordered his staff to draw up detailed plans for 
expansion so that immediate action could be taken if authorization were 
forthcoming. As a result, Plans Able and Baker were prepared, the one 
designed to augment the Brigade to war strength, the other to explore 
the requirements for creating a full division. To cover these possibilities 
together with the Corps' other irrevocable commitments throughout 
the world, Marine planners were drawn more and more toward a single 
basic conclusion— if President Truman and the Joint Chiefs of Staff 
granted MacArthur's request, the Marine Corps Reserve would have to 
be mobilized at once. 

When the Joint Chiefs received the message which MacArthur had 
dictated in General Craig's presence, they requested an estimate from 
the Marine Corps on how long ir would take to form a war-strength 
division. General Cates summed up his case: the Marine Corps, number- 
ing only 74,279 officers and men, 9 was committed on a global basis. 
There was a brigade on its way to Korea, a peace-strength division on 
the Atlantic Coast,' and a battalion landing team permanently assigned 
to the Mediterranean Fleet. There were detachments of Marines assigned 
for domestic security, shipboard duty, and overseas security. Moreover, 
in order to carry out any expansion program on a sound basis, it would 
be necessary to maintain cadres of experienced personnel in various 
training centers. The Commandant's presentation made it clear that any 
immediate expansion would, as proved by simple arithmetic, be 
dependent upon mobilization of the Reserve. 

Accordingly, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended to Ptesident 
Truman that the Organized Marine Corps Reserve be called to active 
duty. That same morning, 19 July, Admiral Sherman notified General 
Cares of this decision. The Commandant lost no time at ordering his 
sraff to alert all Reserve units. His grounds for haste were well founded; 
for in the afternoon a presidential proclamation announced that the 
"citizen-Marines" would be mobilized. The following day Cates called 
CNO and submitted Plans Able and Baker, the proposed procedures for 
building both the Brigade and 1st Marine Division to war strength. 

In the meantime JCS had notified MacArthur that his request could 
not be granted until late fall "without unacceptable weakening [of] the 

,J Figure as of iO Jun 1950. 

111 The 2d Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, N. C. 

The Advance Party 59 

Fleet Marine Force Atlantic." 1 1 When the U. N. commander received 
this message, he countered immediately with the reply: 

. . Most urgently request tccon si deration of decision with refctcncc to First 
Marine Division. It is an absolutely vital development to accomplish a decisive 
stroke and if not made available will necessitate a much more costly and longer 
operational effort both in blood and expense. 

"It is essential the Marine Division arrive by 10 September 1 9^0 as requested. 
While it would be unwise for me to attempt in this message to give in detail the 
planned use of this unit I cannot emphasize too strongly my belief of the complete 
urgency of my request. There can be no demand for its potential use elsewhere that 
can equal the urgency of the immediate battle mission contemplated for it. 1 - 

"Signed MacArtbur" 

On 22 July the gears of mobilization were already enmeshed. Taking 
this into account along with the urgency of MacArthur's last communi- 
cation, the Joint Chiefs showed the first signs of relenting in their reply 
to Tokyo. This time they informed the Army general that they were 
reconsidering his problem, but added that he must advise them of the 
proposed employment of the Brigade up to 10 September and the possi- 
bility of adjusting that deadline. The same message carried the encourag- 
ing news that a directive had already been issued to bring both the 
Brigade and its air group to full war strength. 11 

In answer, MacArrhur srated his intention to retain the Brigade in 
Japan, unless a more critical situation developed in Korea prior to 10 
Seprember. He described his operarion planned for mid-September as an 
amphibious landing in the rear of the enemy's lines. This seaborne 
attack, he added, would be designed to envelop and destroy the Com- 
munist invader in conjunction with an offensive from the south by the 
Eighth Army. The General concluded his message on notes of condi- 
tional optimism and grave warning: 

"Although exact date of D-day is partially dependent upon enemy reaction during 
month of August, I am convinced that an early and strong effort behind his front 
will sever his main lines of communications and enable us to deliver a decisive and 
crushing blow. Any material delay in such an operation may lose this opportunity. 
The alternative is a frontal attack which can only result in a protracted and expensive 
campaign to slowly drive the enemy north of the }Sth parallel." M 

On 25 July these exchanges came to a climax when the Pentagon 

11 JCSdisp to CINCFE, 20 Jul 50. 

CINCFE disp to JCS, 21 Jul 50. 
11 JCS msg 86778 to CINCFE, 22 Jul 50. 
" CINCFE msg C-58473 to JCS, 2} Jul 50: 


The Putan Perimeter 

directed the Marine Corps to build its 1st Division to full war strength. 
At this point the change of heart among the joint Chiefs of Staff is 
pertinent because of its direct effects on the 1st Provisional Marine Bri- 
gade. As previously noted, the Pentagon on 22 July approved the Marine 
Corps' plan Able which provided for the expansion of the Brigade to 
war strength. General Gates immediately set machinery in motion to 
bolster the ranks of that unit. With the approval of Admiral Sherman, i 
he cut into the rosters of Marine security detachments throughout the 
United States and arranged for the personnel thus released to be chan- 
nelled ro Craig's command. It was also possible now to implement an 
earlier plan relating to casualty replaccmenrs for the Brigade. As far back 
as 14 July, rhe Commandant had ordered activation of the First Replace- 
ment Drafr, fixing its departure for Korea at 10 August. 15 Thus Craig 
could be assured of early reinforcement by more than 800 officers and 
men if the course of the war necessirated a premature commitment of his 

The Advance Party in Japan 

Generals Craig and Cushman were meanwhile assigned a large office in 
General Headquarters, Tokyo. There they cleated away much adminis- 
trative detail which accumulates in the path of every military operation. 

On 20 July the two commanders called on General Stratemcyer. 
Marine Air was rhe focal poinr of discussion as they again explained the 
organization of their fighting team. When they informed Stratemeyer of 
MacArthur's decision to keep the Brigade intact, the air officer gave them 
further assurance that MAG-33 would always be available to support 
the Marine ground force. lrt 

Originally, the Army planned to base the Marine ground elemenrs at 
Sasebo, Japan, and the air group 400 miles away at Itami Field, near 
Kobe. Craig and Cushman realized that the resulting large gap would 
give rise to problems in liaison, training, and supply. Hoping ro change 
such an undesirable arrangement, the Brigade staff carefully srudied the 
layout of available land and facilities. Armed with the results of this 
research, Craig proposed to General Headquarters that all Marines be i 
based in the Kobe-Osaka- Kyoto area. After he outlined the advantages 
of keeping the Brigade and its supporting aviation close together, 

" CMC disp to FMFPac, 22 Jul 50. 
■"Craig, if Jim 54. 


The Pi/san Perimeter 

Wright responded encouragingly to the recommendation. 17 

Confident that the suggestion would be favorably considered, the 
advance party (lew to Itami on 21 July and made a detailed reconnais- 
sance of debarkarion, billeting, and training sires. While Craig inspected 
the area and prepared a report, Cushman examined the air base facilities 
and established his headquarters according to the initial plan. The Ma- 
rine officers then returned to Tokyo 2 days later to push the request for 
getting both air and ground forces located in the same area. To support 
his proposal, Craig submitted a complete "floor plan" not only for the 
Brigade but also for rhe entire 1st Marine Division. MacArthur's staff 
promptly approved." 1 

On the 25th the advance party again set out for Itami, this time to 
prepare for the arrival of the Btigade. Theit plane was a scant 20 minutes 
out of Tokyo when an urgent message from General Headquarters 
dirccred their return to that city at once. The big aircraft roared back to 
the field, and a few minutes later the Marines were driving through the 
Japanese capital. 

At headquarters, Wrighr summed up rhe most recent reports from the 
front. The American forward wall was crumbling under conrinuous 
hammering. A wide envelopment had just netted the whole south- 
western tip of the peninsula for the Communists, who were now press- 
ing in on Pusan from the west as well as north. Lacking sufficient troops 
ro defend its broad frontage, the Eighth Army was falling back. If the 
Red tide continued unabated, there was imminent danger of losing 
Pusan, the one remaining major port in American hands. Should this 
coastal city fall, South Korea would be lost. 

Wright told Craig that all available troops had to be thrown inro the 
line to meet this threat. Therefore, General MacArthur had diverted the 
seaborne Brigade from Japan to Korea, where it would join General 
Walker's beleaguered forces. 19 

Obviously, the Matines were not far from a fight. 

Voyage of the Brigade 

At sea the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was unaware of the decisions 
and difficulties developing on higher levels. Nevertheless, that tactical 


ls tbid.; LtGen E. A. Craig Itr to authors, 15 Apr 54 (Craig, 15 Apr 54); Weir, 16 Apr 
54; and Brig SAR, tot: cit. 
19 Stewart, 15 Jan 54; and Brig SAR, he. cit. 


The Advance Party 63 

organization was having enough trouble of its own. On 12 July, Com- 
pany A, 1st Tank Battalion, and the 1st Amphibious Tractor Company 
departed San Diego on board the LSD's Fort Marion and Gumtim Hall. 
Designated Task Unit 53.7.3, the twin amphibious ships sailed 2 days 
before the rest of the Brigade and were scheduled to join the main con- 
voy, Task Group 53.7, before crossing 160° east longitude. 2 " 

At noon on 13 July, the well deck of the Fort Marion accidentally 
flooded, the water rising to a height of 5 feet among the Brigade's M-26 
tanks. An hour passed before the ship's pumps could drain the compart- 
ment, and briny water damaged 14 of the new armored vehicles, 300 
90-mm. projectiles' (then in critical supply), and 5,000 rounds of 
.30-caliber ammunition. 

When news of the flood damage reached Brigade headquarters, then 
stitl at San Diego, the message was rushed to Craig. He immediately 
sent a dispatch to Captain English, authorizing him to jettison the 
ruined ammunition. He added that replacement armor would be requisi- 
tioned from the Barstow depot without delay. Craig then contacted the 
supply base and was promised that 14 M-26's would be commissioned 
and on their way to San Diego within 24 hours. The Brigade com- 
mander was preparing to request additional shipping for the vehicles 
when messages from the Fort Marion reported that 12 tanks could be 
restored to operating condition at sea. The remaining two would require 
new parts and 72 hours of repair work upon debarkation. 21 

As already noted, the Marines were placing heavy reliance on their 
armor, confident that it was a match for the enemy's Russian-built T-34 
tank in Korea. Consequently, Craig's staff reacted to the flood reports 
with concern. Headquarters FMFPac was asked to include four M-26's 
in its first resupply shipment to the Brigade; arrangements were made 
for new parts to be flown to the port of debarkation, and ammunition to 
replace that damaged in the flood was loaded on board the larger convoy. 

Misfortune struck again a few hours after Task Group 53-7 steamed 
from San Diego on 14 July. The transporr Henrico developed a serious 
mechanical failure and was declared temporarily unsea worthy. This ship 
was carrying Lieutenant Colonel Mutray, his regimental staff, and the 
entire 1st Battalion Landing Team.'- After Murray and his headquarters 
transferred to the APA Pickaway off San Clemen te Island, the Henrico 
limped back toward California with about one-third of the Brigade's 

!n Brig SAR, inc. at. 

Jl Ibid,; and Craig, 15 Apr 54. 

iJ 1st Bn T 5th Marines, with supporting units. 


The Pman Perimeter 

fighting force. The vessel docked at the United States Naval Supply 
Depot, Oakland, on the 16th. Repairs were started in urgent haste, since 
there was no other ship available. For security reasons, the Marines were 
forbidden to leave ship except for training on the dock. On the nights of 
the 16th and 17th, they sat on deck and gazed longingly at the beckon- 
ing lights of San Francisco. Twice during this time the Henrico weighed 
anchor and passed westward under the Golden Gate bridge; twice it was 
forced to return for additional repairs. Finally, on the evening of the 
18th, the vessel steamed under the great bridge for its third attempt. 
This time it kept going, but it would not overtake the convoy until the 
morning of the very day the ships reached their destination. 

During the voyage, strict wartime security measures, including radio 
silence, were enforced on all ships. While the North Koreans were 
believed to have no warships left afloat, their naval capabilities remained 
hidden from the outside world by a blur of question marks. No one 
realized more than the commander of Task Group 53.7 31 that it was 
much too early to take Soviet Russia for granted. 

The Henrico, now travelling independently, had a spine-chilling 
experience during her second night out of Oakland. The ship's radar 
picked up two "unidentified submarines" which appeared to be converg- 
ing on the stern of the lone vessel. General Quarters was sounded. While 
sailors peered into the darkness from their battle stations, several hun- 
dred Marines joked weakly in the troop compartments below the water- 
line. After an anxious hour, the persistent spots on the electronic screen 

Shipboard life for the Brigade was otherwise uneventful. The troops 
took part in physical drills as vigorously as the limited confines of vessels 
would allow. Daily classes and conferences emphasized those subjects 
most relevant to the news reports trickling back from the front. Success 
of North Korean armor stimulated keen interest in land mines and the 
new rocket launchers. Press commentaries on the battleground's primi- 
tive environment made even field sanitation a serious matter. Since there 
was no military intelligence available on the North Korean forces, offi- 
cers and NCO's turned to publications on Russian tactics and weapons. 

As previously noted, Sasebo, Japan, was the original destination of the 
ships transporting the Brigade's ground elements. The Achernar, Ander- 
son, and Badoeng Strait were bound for Kobe with MAG-33. When 
Craig's proposal for consolidation was approved by General Headquar- 

J) Capt L. D. Sharp, jr.. USN. 

ters, the entire convoy was ordered to Kobe. Then, on 25 July, Colonel 
Edward W. Snedeker, Chief of Staff, received the dispatch sending the 
ground force directly to Pusan, 

This announcement came as no surprise to the majority of officers and 
men. Day by day, news reports had been outlining the course of the war. 
The shrinking perimeter of Walker's army was traced on maps and 
sketches throughout every ship. After the Communist "end run" in 
southwest Korea, Marines began to wonder if there would be any front 
at all by the time they arrived. In the captain's mess of the Pickaway, 
senior Marine and naval officers were giving odds that the Brigade would 
reach the South Korean port only in time to cover a general evacuation 
of the peninsula. 24 

The Advance Party in Korea 

With the Brigade well beyond the halfway point in its Pacific voyage, 
Craig and his staff could not afford to waste a minute. At 1700 on 25 
July they left Tokyo by plane for Korea. En route they landed at Itami, 
where the Brigade commander and Cushman made hurried adjustments 
to meet the new situation. 25 

Leaving Itami on the 26th, they flew to Fukuoka, Japan. There they 
transferred from their 4 -engine Marine aircraft to a smaller Air Force 
plane which could be accommodated on the primirive landing fields of 
Korea. On the last lap of their journey, they reached Taegu at 1400. 

Taegu was a dismal place during this crucial phase of the UN delay- 
ing action. Hastily chosen as a headquarters by General Walker, the 
ancient town gave the appearance of a remote outpost. Its airstrip was 
crude. The fewness of the airmen and soldiers among the handful of 
transport and fighter planes served only to emphasize the critical situa- 
tion of the UN forces. Jrt 

General Craig reported to General Walker immediately, while the 
Brigade G-3, Lieutenant Colonel Joseph L. Stewart, met with his Eighth 
Army opposite, Colonel William E. Bartlett. Later, Walker's chief of' 
staff, Colonel Eugene M, Landrum, assembled all the Marine officers for 
an official briefing. He explained that the Brigade had not been ear- 
marked for any specific mission. The battle situation was too fluid for 

24 Col R. L, Murray interv with author, 15 Feb 54 (Murray, 15 Feb 54). 
« Craig, 25 Jan 54. 
Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

firm plans. Information from the field was sketchy and unreliable, as 
outnumbered Army forces slowly retreated. From the time of first con- 
tact by American units, the front had been more of a blur than a distinct 
line. Landrum concluded by saying thar the Brigade must be prepared to 
move anywhere after debarkation— and on a moment's notice. 27 

After he and his officeis had been assigned rooms in a temporary bar- 
racks, Craig requested permission to reconnoiter the combat zone. 28 
Walker assented, providing his own plane and pilot for the trip. Accom- 
panied by Stewart and Lieutenant Colonel Arthur A, Chidester, his G-4, 
Craig flew first to Pusan, where he checked harbor facilities, roads, and 
railways. There he conferred with Brigadier General Crump Garvin, 
USA, to initiate prepararions for the Brigade's arrival. 29 

Leaving Pusan, the Marine officers flew over Chinhae, which they dis- 
covered to be a suitable base, if necessary, for VMO-6 and the Brigade's 
air support control unit. Cruising westward, they passed over Masan, 
then continued toward Chinju. From the latter vicinity, the enemy's 
envelopment was then threatening the western approaches to Pusan. 
Veering northward, the reconnaissance party paralleled the Naktong 
River, The pilot, who was familiar wirh the ground, briefed his passen- 
gers along the way. By the time the plane returned to Taegu, the Ma- 
rines had a broad picture of the critical areas most likely to become 
Brigade battlefields. 30 

General Craig and his ground officers remained at Taegu 4 days. At- 
tending daily briefings of rhe Eighrh Army sraff, they acquired a sound 
knowledge of the tactical situation. At a conference with Major General 
Earle E. Partridge and his Fifth Air Force sraff, fi rhe Marines were 
brought up to date on the disposition of aviation and its policy for 
supporting UN ground forces. 32 

In the fight for time, ground force units in line wete frequently with- 
drawn and shuttled to plug gaps in the sagging fronr. Reports from the 
battlefield more often were food for the imagination rather than fact for 
the planning room. All of this created confusion among Eighth Army 
staff officers. " 

» Ibid, 

2S The combat zone comprises that parr of rhe theater of operations required for the con- 
duct of war by field forces. In this case it included all of Korea remaining in UN hands, 
"Craig, 25 Jan 54. 
» Ibid. 

" Hq 5th AF was also locatd at Taegu. 

M Craig, 15 Apr 54. 

" Ibid.; and Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 

The Advance Party 


In the Taejon area the 24th Infantry Division had lost 770 officers and 
men during the single week of 15-22 July. Of these casualties, 61 were 
known dead, 203 wounded, and 506 missing in action. 14 Among the 
missing was General Dean, and the wounded included a regimental 
commanding officer, a regimental executive officer, and a battalion 

Following this ordeal, the 24th had been relieved by the recenrly 
arrived 1st Cavalry Division, which went into line alongside the 25th 
Division in the Kumchon area. ROK divisions held to the north 
and east, where NKPA forces were driving toward Pohang-dong. 

The shape of strategic things to come was indicated late in July when 
two NKPA divisions completed a much publicized "end run" past the 
open UN left flank to the southwest tip of the peninsula, then wheeled 
eastward for a drive on Pusan. 

General Walker reacred promptly to the danger by recalling the 24th 
Division from Eighth Army reserve and moving it southward from 
Kumchon to block the enemy near Hadong. With the recently landed 
29th Infantry attached, the division totalled only 13,351 officers and 
men.' 6 Its front extended from the southern coast near Hadong to the 
town of Kochang, 40 miles north." In addition to manning this moun- 
tainous line, the 24th had troops in action at Pohang-dong, more than 
100 miles away on the east coast. There some of its units fought as Task 
Force Perry, under direct control of Eighth Army headquarters. 38 

The 24th Division and 29th Infantry had no more than deployed 
when they found themselves plunged into a confused 5-day fight. 
Although they sold ground as dearly as possible, the Army units were 
compelled to give up Hadong and fall back toward Chinju. 59 

As the threat to Pusan grew more serious, rhc Eighrh Army com- 
mander shifted units. In order to protect the approaches from Chinju to 
Pusan, he pulled the 25th Infantry Division back across the river Nak- 
tong near Waegwan and moved it from the northern to the southern 

" 24th InfDiv Periodic Personnel Rpt No. 2, 15-22 Jul 50. 

» Ibid. 

,4 Ibid., No. 3, 29 Jul 50. Actually, as the report itself states, this figure is a meaning- 
less statistic, and exceeds the real total by several hundred. It was the practice not to sub- 
tract missing-in-action casualties until 30 days after losses were reported. Also, casualty 
reports from far-flung subordinate units were received irregularly, and some of these 
undoubtedly were not available when this tally was made. 

" 24th InfDiv Op Instr, 24-28 Jul 50. 
Hq EUSAK Op Dir, 29 Jul 50. 

V 24th InfDiv Op Instr, 24-28 Jul 50. 


The Pman Perimeter 

front in 48 hours. The next day saw the 1st Cavalry withdrawing across 
the Naktong in the Waegwan area and blowing the bridges. 

After being relieved in the south by the 25th Division, the 24th joined 
the 1st Cavalry withdrawal to hastily organized defensive positions east 
of the Naktong. ROK divisions continued to defend the northeast 
approaches, while the 25 th Division stood guard to block any enemy 
move toward Chinju. 40 

At this juncture General Craig became increasingly concerned about 
prospects of maintaining the Brigade's integrity as a Marine air-ground 
team. He and his staff were aware that elements of the 29th Infantry had 
been rushed from their ships directly into combat in the Chinju area, 
and some units were badly mauled. Craig took occasion, therefore, to 
remind Army leaders once more of the Marine tactical concept of the 
indivisible air-ground team. 4 ' 

MAG-33, said Craig, would have to unload its planes and prepare 
them for action; and the control squadron would need an interval to set 
up co-ordinated tactical air support. 42 

Crisis of Eighth Army 

As July drew to an end, the situation both on the northern and south- 
western fronts was developing into a crisis. Hourly it grew apparent that 
the Eighth Army's perimeter would have to shrink even more, so that 
defenses could assume some depth in sensitive areas. Landrum indicated 
for the first time that the Brigade was being considered primarily for a 
mission on the left flank. 43 Guided by this possibility, Craig and his staff 
officers devoted a day to drawing up a flexible operation plan. The pur- 
pose of this directive was to advise the Brigade's subordinate com- 
manders of possible commitment in the Chinju, Kochang, or Kumchon 
areas, in that order of probability. Also included were derailed instruc- 
tions for movement to forward assembly areas, broad missions for sup- 
porting units, security measures to be taken, and a general outline of the 
situation ashore. 44 

*° Hq EUSAK Op Dir. 29 Jul SO. 
11 Stewart, 15 Jan 54, 
Mlhid.;znA Craig, 15 Apr 54. 
15 Craig, 25 Jan 54. 

u Brig Op Plan No. 3-50, 31 Jul 50; Craig, 25 Jan 54. The "Kochan" and "Kumwan" 
referred to in rhe operations plan ate actually Kochang and Kumchon, The odd assort- 
ment of maps available in the early days of the war offered a variety of spelling along with 
far more serious inaccuracies. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

The advance party extracted from the plan a fragmentary warning 
order suitable for radio transmission. This message was delivered ro 
Eighth Army headquarters with a request that it be sent immediately to 
the Brigade at sea. 45 Now Craig assumed that Snedeker and Murray 
would have a reasonable impression of the situation awaiting them. 46 

At an Army briefing on the 29th, the Marines learned that the UN 
left flank was collapsing. An air of uneasiness pervaded Taegu, and 
Eighth Army headquarters began prepararions for displacement to 
Pusan. Craig was told that the Brigade definitely would be committed 
in the southwest, unless a more critical situation suddenly sprang up 
elsewhere. Again the Army officers added that the Marine unit actually 
must be prepared to move in any direction on short notice. 47 

With the approval of the Eighth Army, the Brigade commander 
immediately sent a message to COMNAVFE requesring that the Ma- 
rine air group be made available to support the ground force by 2 
August, and that VMO-6 be transported to Korea as quickly as possi- 
ble. 4ti Time was drawing short. 

On 30 July, General Craig had a final conference with Generals 
Walker and Partridge. This time, Walker himself told the Marine leader 
that the Brigade would be sent to the southwest; and that the unit, once 
committed, would be free to push forward without interference from 
Eighth Army. 49 Partridge interjected that his planes would be available 
to support Craig's ground troops if Marine air did not arrive in time. 50 

Immediately after the conference, the Marine officers set out for Pusan 
by jeep. While their vehicles bounced southward on the ancient road, 
army headquarters in Taegu was sinking to new depths of dejection. 
Chinju had just fallen, and the Red column was pounding on toward 

45 Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 
« Ibid. 

" Craig, 25 Jan 54 and 17 Apr 54. 
*« Ibid, 
(,J ibid. 
» Ibid. 
51 Ibid. 

Visit to the Fro fit — Above, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur with 
Ambassador John J. Muccio and Major General Edward M. Almond, Chief 
of Staff, GHO, FEC; and, below, with Lieutenant General Walton H. Walker, 
commanding the Eighth U. S. Army in Korea (U, S. Army Photo). 

Marine Air Strikes First— Above, the U. S. S. Badoeng Strait (CVE 116 J 
Hearing Japan -with Corsairs on deck; and, below, an F4U armed with eight 
rockets and a 500-ib. bomb takes off from the U. S. S. Sicily (CVE 118 ) (U. S. 
Navy Photo ). 

Mamies in Action— Above, Brigade infantry and M-26 tank, advancing under 
fire, pass body of dead United States soldier on left; and, below, ambushed 
Marines are pinned do wn temporarily by enemy machinegun fire at Naktong 
Bulge (Marine Corps Photo), 

Marine Air in Action— Above, rocket-laden planes of VMF-214 warming up 
on the flight deck of the Sicily; and, below, a Corsair takes off for the front in 
Korea (U. S. Navy Photo). 

Marine Mortar Crew—Supporting the infantry advance with 81-mm. shells 
are, left to right, Private First Class Jesse W. Haneyjr., Bakers field, Calif.; 
Private First Class Bennie M. John, Ardmore, Qkla.; Private First Class 
Richard A. Robey, Houston, Tex.; and an unidentified Marine in background 
( Marine Corps Photo ). 

Introducing the Enemy — No prisoner of war appears at his best, but Marine 
veterans of the Brigade can attest that some of the tough well- trained NKPA 
soldiers put up a good fight in Pusan Perimeter operations (Marine Corps 

Cm/ <?/ the Ridge— Two Marine PFC's, Rami J R. Bates (left) of Los Angeles, 
and Richard N, Martin, of Elk River, Minn., take a break after fighting their 
way to the top of a ridge in the Naktong Bulge (Marine Corps Photo). 

The Flying Windmills— Above, Generals Craig (left) and Cushman waiting 
for the pilot to take them aloft in an H03S-1 helicopter; and, below, a VMO-6 
helicopter lands near the artillery positions of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines 
( Marine Corps Photo J. 


Prelude to Battle 

Reconnaissance by Jeep— Brigade Air Lands— Landing of Ground 
Force— Bedlam on Pusan Water Front —The Brigade at Chang- 
won— The Pusan Perimeter— Brigade Air Strikes First— Planning 
the Sachon-Chinju Offensive 

After the advance party reached Pusan, Genera! Craig established a 
A temporary command post in the headquarters building of General 
Garvin's Base Command. Then the Marine officers plunged into the final 
phase of planning and preparation for the Brigade, although they were 
still handicapped by the undisclosed secret of the convoy's arrival date. 
Staff gears were meshing smoothly by this time, with solutions being 
ground out for one problem after another. 

On the night of 30 July, Lieutenant Colonel Stewart and other staff 
officers were discussing whether MAG-33 would be able to get its planes 
airborne in time to supporr the Brigade in its initial combat. Acting on 
a hunch, Stewart picked up a telephone in the slim hope of placing a call 
through to Japan. The long shot paid off. After some wrangling by 
startled operators, be managed to contact Itami Air Force Base and talk 
to Colonel Kenneth H. Weir, Cushman's chief of staff. 

Stewart briefed the Marine aviator on the latest developments, empha- 
sizing that the Brigade would undoubtedly get into the fight soon after 
arrival. He asked Weir to send the Air Support Section and helicopters 
to Korea by LST as quickly as possible after unloading in Japan. 1 

Craig received a radio message that same night from FMFPac, inform- 
ing him that the replacements for the Brigade would not be sent directly 
to Pusan, as requested. They were to be assembled at Camp Pendleton 
for travel with the 1st Marine Division, and this meant a delay which 
could be critical. Craig immediately insisted that the reinforcements be 

1 Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 



The Pusan Perimeter 

sent to Pusan to replace Brigade battle losses and form the third rifle 
companies.' The Marine leader's determination in this instance proved 
to be a blessing a few weeks later. 

Reconnaissance by Jeep 

On the morning of 31 July, Craig and Stewart set out by jeep to recon- 
noiter the rear areas of the crumbling southwestern sector. Kean's 25th 
Division, having just replaced the 24th in line, was now blocking the 
threatened western approaches to Pusan. Since all indications pointed to 
the Btigade's commitment in this area, Craig wanted to walk and ride 
over the terrain he had previously scouted from the air.' 

He returned to Pusan just in time to receive a telephone call from 
Colonel Landrum of Eighth Army Headquarters. The chief of staff told 
him of General Walker's intention to attach the Army's 5th Regimental 
Combat Team, newly arrived from Hawaii, to the 1st Provisional Marine 
Brigade. With two regiments under his command, Craig would be 
assigned a vital area of responsibility along rhe Nam River, near its con- 
fluence with the Naktong north of Masan.' 1 Unforrunately, the Brigade 
reached Korea 1 day roo late. When the 5th RCT debarked at Pusan on 
1 August, it was earmarked for the 25th Division and placed in Eighth 
Army reserve. 5 

Also debarking on the 1st was the Army's skeletonized 2d Division. 
This unitcleared Pusan and hurried ro the hard-pressed Taegu area where 
it also passed into Eighth Army reserve/' 

During the last hours before the Brigade's arrival, Lieutenant Colonel 
Chidester was diligently engaged in the task— ot arr— of procurement. 
It has already been explained why the Marine ground force would de- 
bark for combat with little more than what its troops could carry on 
their backs. In order to offset partially the deficiencies, the G-4 success- 
fully negotiated with Army authorities for 50 cargo trucks, several jeeps, 
some radio vans, and various other items of equipment. Officers of the 
Pusan Base Command reacted to all of Chidester's requests with as much 
generosity as their meager stocks of materiel would allow. 7 

1 Craig, 25 Jan 54. 
1 Ibid. 
" Ibid. 

' MCBS, II-A-7. 

6 Hq EUSAK Op Dir, 3 Jul 50. 

7 Craig, 25 Jan 54. 

Prelude to Bat tic 


Not until the morning of 2 August did General Craig learn that Task 
Group 53.7 was scheduled to dock at Pusan that very evening. The last- 
minute disclosure relieved him of considerable anxiety, but he was still 
disturbed for want of specific orders concerning departure of the Brigade 
from Pusan. His instructions from General Walker were to debark the 
ground force immediately and have it prepared to move forward by 0600 
tiie following morning. The same orders advised him that a specific 
destination "would be given later." ' 

"Later" did not come soon enough for the Marine commander. As the 
'ong column of ships steamed into Pusan Harbor in the early evening, 
he still did not know where he would lead his Brigade the next morning.'' 

Brigade Air Lands 

When Task Group 53.7 entered Far Eastern waters, the ships transport- 
the forward echelon of the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing veered toward 
Japan, while the others continued to Korea. The Brigade's air arm 
arrived at Kobe late in the afternoon of 31 July. 

Within three hours debarkation had been completed and unloading 
was in full swing. A waiting LST took on Marine Tactical Air Control 
Squadron Two and the ground personnel and equipment of VMO-6. By 
the next morning it was steaming toward Pusan, carrying the vital link 
in General Craig's air-ground team. Cushman and Weir were making 
good their promises. 10 

Since harbor facilities at Kobe were unsuitable for offloading aircraft, 
the Badoeng Strait stood out to sea on 1 August and catapulted 44 of its 
Marine fighter planes into the air. The aircraft sped to the field at Itami, 
where they were quickly checked by pilots and crews for their imminenr 
role in combat. On the following day, the other 26 fighters left the car- 
rier and joined the first group ashore for maintenance and testing." 

To achieve maximum mobility and striking power. Marine and Navy 
commanders agreed to base VMF's 214 and 323 aboard aircraft carriers 
for initial operations over Korea. After only 1 day of refresher flights at 
Itami, the pilots of VMF-214 landed their planes aboard the U. S. S. 

s (but, 

■' ihnt. 

" Annexes Charlie and Vox 10 MAG- 33 SAR, 5 Jul-6 Sep 50. 
" Annex Charlie, ibid. 

90 The Pusan Perimeter 

Sicily, Two days later, on 5 August, Major Arnold Lund led his VMF-323 
back to the Badoeng Strait, 1 2 

The squadron of night fighters, VMF(N)-513, was land-based. Having 
been assigned to the Fifth Air Force, it would be controlled by the 
Itazuke field for night heckler missions over Korea. This unit had time 
for only a few night training flights before being committed to combat. 13 

Kobe's waterfront was the scene of feverish activity around the clock. 
The light observation planes and helicopters of VMO-6 were unloaded, 
assembled, and— to the amazement of local Japanese — flown from the 
very streets of the city to the base at Itami. There they were hurriedly 
checked by mechanics and prepared for the short ferry flight to Korea. 14 

Headquarters and Service Squadrons of MAG-33 were left with the 
task of unloading supplies and equipment from the Achernar and Ander- 
son. Since the three fighter squadrons were farmed out to the carriers 
and Air Force, Group headquarters turned its attention to administrative 
and maintenance matters. For the next month it would be hard-pressed 
to keep the carrier squadrons supplied with spare parrs while providing 
replacement aircraft for the sea-borne units, handling a variety of airlift 
requests with its lone transport plane, and making arrangements for the 
support of VMF(N)-513 at Itazuke. n 

Landing of Ground Force 

The hapless Henrico finally overtook Task Group 53.7 in the Tsushima 
Straits on the morning of 2 August. A few hours later the Marines of the 
Brigade got their first glimpse of Korea's skyline. Seen from a distance, 
the wall of forbidding, gray peaks was hardly a welcome sight to men 
who had been broiled and toughened on the heights of Camp Pendleton. 

For reasons unknown, neither Colonel Snedeker nor anyone else had 
received the operations plan which Craig had sent via Eighth Army at 
Taegu. Although every Marine in the convoy realized the gravity of the 
situation ashore, there could be no specific preparations by troop leaders 
whose only source of information was an occasional news broadcast. 

Having heard nothing from his superiors, Lieutenant Colonel Murray 
was thinking in terms of a purely administrative landing. Had he known 

11 VMF-323 SAR, 3 Aug-6 Sep 50. 
13 Annex Charlie, o/>. cit. 
"> Ibid. 
» Ibid. 

Prelude to Battle 91 

what awaited his 5th Marines ashore, he would have had his troops 
draw ammunition and rations while still ac sea. Throughout the sleep- 
less night that followed, he had ample time to reflect sourly on the for- 
tunes of war.' 6 

Shortly after 1700 on 2 August, the first ship steamed into Pusan Har- 
bor. As it edged toward the dock, Leathernecks crowding the rail were 
greeted by a tinny and slightly tone-deaf rendition of the Marine Corps 
Hymn, blared by a South Korean band. Army troops scattered along the 
warerfronr exchanged the usual barbed courtesies with their webfooted 
btethrcn aboard ship, and old salts smiled while noting that tradition re- 
mained intact. 

When the Clymer approached its berth, Craig waved a greeting to 
Snedeker and shouted, "What battalion is the advance guard?" 17 

The chief of staff registered an expression of astonishment, 

"Did you get my orders?" Craig called to Murray when the Pickaway 
slid against the dock. 

"No, sir!" » replied the CO of the 5th Marines. 

Craig ordered a conference at 2100 for the Brigade staff, Murray, bat- 
ration commanders, and the leaders of supporting units. When the of- 
ficers entered the wardroom of the Clymer at the specified time, the last 
ship of Task Group 53.7 was being moored in its berth. 

After introductory remarks by the general, his G-2, Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Ellsworth G. Van Orman, launched the briefing with a grim narra- 
tive of the enemy situation. Next came Stewart, who outlined tentative 
operations plans. The Brigade would definitely begin moving forward 
at 0600 the next morning, although a specific destination had yet to be 
assigned by the Army. Travel would be by road and rail. The necessary 
trains were already awaiting in the Pusan terminal, and the 50 trucks 
procured by Chidestcr were sranding by, complete with Army drivers. 19 

Craig then summed up his earlier discussions with Walker. The 
Army leader had voiced a strong desire to use rhe Marines in an attack, 
for he felt it was high time to strike back at the Red invader. Employ- 
ment of the Brigade as an offensive force was a natural conclusion to its 
commander, and he told his subordinates how he had won assurances 
for the integrity of the air-ground ream. This was an encouraging note 
on which to close one of the strangest combat briefings in the history 

"'Murray, 15 l'eb 54. 

17 BrifiGcn E. W, Snedeker ltr to CMC, 21 Apr 54. 

18 Murray, 15 Feb 54. 
" Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 

The Pusan Perimeter 

of the Corps. The leaders of over 4,000 Marines rushed from the ship to 
alert their units for movement into a critical tactical situation. They 
would leave in a few hours, but didn't know where they were going. 20 

Bedlam on Pusan Waterfront 

Ir is not surprising that the Pusan waterfront turned into a bedlam. As 
darkness settled, Thousands of Marines poured onto the docks. Cranes 
and working parties unloaded vehicles, supplies and equipment, while 
a chorus of commands and comments was added to the roar of ma- 
chinery. Supply points were set up under searchlighrs, and long lines of 
Marines formed on the docks, in buildings and along streets. Armfuls 
of Orations, machinegun belts, grenades, and bandoleers gave men rhe 
appearance of harried Christmas shoppers caught in a last-minute rush. 

The activity and din continued all night. Few men could sleep 
through the noise, crowding, and shuffling. Before dawn, new lines 
began to form in reverse as groggy Marines filed back aboard ships to 
get their lasr hor meal for many a day. 

After rhe conference aboard the Ctymer, Brigade headquarters resumed 
its efforts to obtain specific information from Taegu. Finally, at 2325, 
Landrum telephoned Craig and announced Walker's decision— the 
Brigade would go westward to the vicinity of Chang won, where it 
would remain for the time being in Eighth Army reserve. Only Walker 
himself could order any further move. If some extreme emergency arose 
and communicarions with Eighth Army were lost, the Brigade would 
then come under the control of the CG, 25th Infantry Division. 21 

The long-awaited message gave added impetus to the unloading oper- 
ations. Major William L. Batchelor's shore party company devoted one 
of its principal efforts to the big howirzers and vehicles of 1/11, while 
English and his tankmen struggled to get their sreel monsters ashore 
from the LSD's. Engineer heavy equipment, mobile maintenance shops 
of the Ordnance Detachment, fuel, ammunition, and medical supplies 
swung from decks to docks, where wairing Marines rushed them off to 
staging areas around the waterfront. 

Altogether, 9,400 tons of supplies were unloaded, and the vast major- 
ity were turned over to Army quartermaster authorities in Pusan, Four 
officers and 100 men of Major Thomas J. O'Mahoney's Combat Service 

Prelude to Battle 93 

Detachment were designated as the Brigade rear echelon. This group 
would remain in the port city to handle logistical and administrative 
matters. Supplies were moved into Army warehouses, where they be- 
came part of the common pool shared by all units at the front. This led 
to confusion later, when the Brigade requested its own Class II and IV 
'terns, only ro discover that they had already been issued to other out- 
fits. But the Army divisions had already been fighting for a month in a 
war which caught the nation unprepared, so that the Pusan Base Com- 
mand had no alternative but to issue supplies on the basis of immediate 
need, not ownership. 33 

The Brigade was prepared to travel light. Not only the bulk of sup- 
plies but also all personal baggage was left behind in Pusan, to be stored 
and safeguarded by the rear echelon. When dawn broke on 3 August, 
each Marine carried only his pack, weapon, ammunition, and rations.' 1 

The Brigade at Cbangwon 

spire the tumult of the sleepless night at Pusan, Lieutenant Colonel 
George R. Newton's 1st Battalion set out for Changwon shortly after 
0600 on 3 August. As advance guard for the Brigade, it made the 40- 
mile trip in Marine and Army trucks, reaching a point I mile west of 
the town at 1400. There the battalion took up defensive positions astride 
the Changwon-Masan road in order to cover the arrival of the remainder 
of the Brigade. 24 

Although he had orders to bivouac at Changwon, Genera! Craig de- 
cided to deploy the Brigade defensively to the west of the town. This 
decision was prompted by the enemy situation west of Masan, which 
was a scant 6 ] A miles from Changwon. Then, too, the Marine com- 
mander saw the layover as a final opportunity to check the field 
discipline of the Brigade.-' 1 

Between 0630 and 0700, the main body of the Marine ground force 
moved out of Pusan by road and rail. Vehicles over 2V4 tons, all heavy 
equipment, and the M-26 tanks were transported on flatcars. 

The roads were narrow and bumpy, and the churning wheels of the 
trucks threw up clouds of stifling dust that hung in the air and painted 
Marines and equipment a ghostly gray. Aboard the primitive trains, 

33 Brig SAR, busk- rpt. 
15 Annex Queen, ibid. 
1A Annex How. 
" Craig, 25 Jan 54. 


The Pman Perimeter 

which frequently jolted to stops for no apparent reason, men tried vainly 
to fit themselves to miniature wooden seats constructed in perfect right 
angles. And always, the troops inhaled that characteristic odor drifting 
in from well-fertilized rice paddies. 

By 1600, all combat and support elements of the Brigade, wirh the 
exception of one tank platoon, had arrived in the Changwon area. 
Southwest of the city the 1st Battalion was relieved of its responsibility 
on the left side of the Changwon-Masan road, when 3/5 occupied the 
high ground in that area. Newton was then able to extend his right 
flank farther along the towering ridge north of the road. 26 

South of the MSR, a wide rice paddy stretched between 3/5's posi- 
tions and the town. Almost in the center of this low ground was a hill 
commanding a good all-around view of the entire area. It was on this 
dominating height that Lieutenant Colonel Harold S. Roise deployed 
his 2d Battalion. Behind Roise, General Craig esrablishcd his CP, in a 
small basin among hills in the immediate vicinity of Changwon. Close- 
in protection for his headquarters was provided by the engineer com- 
pany and various headquarters units. Throughout the interior of the 
bivouac area were tank platoons and the batteries of Lieutenant Colonel 
Wood's arrillery battalion. 

As night settled on 3 August, an army of phantoms invaded the 
Brigade perimeter and drove to the very fringe of Craig's CP. The re- 
action of green troops was typical of men new to combat. Shortly after 
2200, a rifle shot cracked. Many Brigade Marines had never heard a weap- 
on fired in combat, so they concluded that likely targets were present 
in the perimeter area. As nerve-taut men stared fixedly into the black- 
ness, forms that had been harmless bushes and rocks took on the guise 
of Communist infiltrators. 

The first shot was soon followed by others. Toward midnight, the fir- 
ing developed into a continuous crackle, particularly in the immediate 
vicinity of the Brigade CP, Palpirating hearts pounded even more 
strenuously when two Marine machineguns began chattering in posi- 
tions occupied by Brigade headquarters troops. 

Anxiety also spread ro the foxholes of rhe 5th Marines. In 2/5's area 
one man was shot. The 1st Battalion suffered 2 casualties, 1 resulting 
from mistaken identity during challenging, the other inflicted when a 
weapon discharged accidentally." 

W Annex How. 



Prelude to Batik 95 

) The commotion finally died down around 0300, after cursing NCO's 
convinced the military novices that they had been firing ar delusions of 
their own overwrought imaginations. 

Although such a reaction is not uncommon among untried troops, 
this realizarion was no balm to a wrathful Brigade commander at dawn 
on A August. Craig called in leaders of the most obvious offenders and 
severely reprimanded them. He made it known in no uncertain rerms 
that such conduct would not be toletated again; and from that time on, 
every man in the Brigade took him at his wotd. 

The remainder of the stay at Changwon was relatively calm. On one 
occasion a group of seven unidentified petsons was spotted atop a 
fountain overlooking the Brigade area. Closer scrutiny disclosed that 
the individuals had radios and were carefully observing all activity with- 
m the Marine perimeter. A platoon of infantry was dispatched to destroy 
what was apparently an enemy observation post; but by the time the 
rifleman scaled the height, both intruders and radios had disappeared. 

The climb caused a number of heat prostration cases within the pla- 
toon, for Korean terrain and heat were giving Marines their first bitter 
taste of a crippling combination. Brigade helicopters, flown to Pusan on 
2 August, set a combat precedent by delivering rations and water to the 
infantrymen on the mounrain, and by evacuating the more severe heat 
casualties. 28 

While Craig's ground force spent its time patrolling and training 
around Changwon, VMO-6 and the Air Support Section (MTACS-2) 
were readying themselves. Accompanying the 4 H03S helicopters in 
the flight to Pusan from Japan on 2 August were 4 of VMO-6's OY-2 
observation planes. The other 4 light aircraft remained in Japan, to be 
used as spares. On 4 Augusr rhe LST which had been dispatched by 
Cushman and Weir also arrived at the South Korean port. While two 
helicopters fiew to Changwon to operate from Craig's CP, the others, 
together with the rest of VMO-6 and the Air Support Section, moved to 
the aitfield at Chinhae. By 5 August, MTACS-2 had established commu- 
nications with the Sicily and Badoeng Strait and was ready for business. 

The Pusan Perimeter 

The big pictute, militarily speaking, was outlined in somber colors 
during the first few days of August 1950. Only the southeast corner of 

iH Brig SAR, basic rpt. 

96 The Pusan Perimeter 

Korea was left to the Eighth Army and its battered ROK allies. Space 
had been traded for time until there remained in effect merely a UN 
beachhead about 90 miles long and 60 wide. 

Unremitting enemy pressure throughout July had pushed the UN 
forces back to positions stretching raggedly from Pohang-dong on the 
east coast to Masan on the south coast by way of Taegu in the center. 
The logistical lifeline extended from Pusan to Taegu both by road and 
rail, and some 300,000 tons of supplies were moved in July by the Pusan 
Logistical Command. 

The vital seaport had to be held if the UN forces were to retain a 
foothold in the peninsula, and the enemy was already threatening both 
Pohang-dong and Masan, each within 50 miles. Only by courtesy could 
the irregular chain of UN positions have been called a line. Gaps were 
the rule rather than exception, and an entire enemy corps mighr have 
driven through the mountainous area between Andong and Yongdok 
without meeting serious opposition. Nor was this the only spot where 
the dangerously stretched UN forces had to depend on the terrain for 
support. Yet the time had come ro make a stand, and this final UN 
beachhead has gone down in history by the name of the Pusan 

From Taegu in the center to the eastern coast, five depleted ROK divi- 
sions were arrayed during the first week in August. East of the Naktong, 
from the Taegu- Wacgwan area southward, rhe 1st Cavalry and the 24th 
Infantiy Division held defensive positions. This left the southern sector 
to the 25 th Division, reinforced by the Army 5 th RCT and the 1st Pro- 
visional Marine Brigade. 

The principal enemy units pressing toward Masan and Pusan in the 
southern sector were identified as the NKPA 6th Infantry Division and 
the 83d Motorcycle Regiment. Composed entirely of Chinese civil war 
veterans in July 1949, rhe 6tb Division had at that time been the 166th 
Division, 56th CCF Army, which later entered Korea as a completely 
equipped unit. Its three infantry regiments, the 13th, 14th, and 15th, 
were distinguished throughout the invasion for a high esprit de corps. 
Aftet capturing Yongdungpo, an industrial suburb of Seoul, the 6th had 
pushed southward and won fresh honors by forcing the river Kum and 
taking Kunsan by storm. M 

On the eve of the Kunsan operation, according to a captured enemy 
document, troops of the 6th were informed that they wete facing a 

PECOM, AT1S, North Korean 6th Infantry Division ( Inter Rpi, Sup No. 100), 33-6. 

Prelude to Battle 97 

United States Army regiment. "Since this unit is planning to advance to 
the north, it is our mission to envelop and annihilate it. . , . We are 
fully prepared and confident of success in this operation," M1 

A numerical superiority as well as good combat discipline enabled the 
'tiitial assault waves to cross the Kum in pneumatic floats and establish 
3 bridgehead before noon on 16 July 1950, Half of the town of Kunsan 
was occupied before nightfall, and the United States and ROK defend- 
ers withdrew under cover of darkness. 

Next came the "end run," with 6th Division units racing toward the 
capture of Namwon, Kwangju, Yosu, and Mokpu in the southwest 
corner of the peninsula. No opposition awaited except ineffectual delay- 
ing actions by ROK constabulary troops. After mopping up a few small 
pockets of resistance, the 6th Division pushed eastward to lead the 
North Korean drive toward Pusan. 

The capture of Sunchon gave the division an assembly area for the 
attack on Chinju. And on 28 July the commander, Major General Pang, 
issued a message to his troops: 

"Comrades, the enemy is demoralized. The task given to us is the liberation of 
Masan and Chinju and the annihilation of the remnants of the enemy. We have 
liberated Mokpu, Kwangju and Yosu and have thereby accclerared the liberation of 
all Korea. However, the liberation of Chinju and Masan means the final battle to 
cut off the windpipe of the enemy. Comrades, this glorious task has fallen to our 
division! Men of the 6th Division, let us annihilate the enemy and distinguish 
ourselves!" " 

Up to that time the division's total casualties had been remarkably 
few. Only 400 killed and wounded were reported from 25 June until 
after the capture of Kunsan, and the 6th had met scarcely any opposi- 
tion since that action. It was just prior to the assault on Chinju, more- 
over, that the 83d Motorcycle Regiment was attached to reinforce rhe 
drive roward Pusan. 

This unit had been part or the 105th Armored Division until June 
1950, when it was given a separate existence. Equipment consisted of 
motorcycles with sidecars and jeeps of Soviet manufacture. Fixed ma- 
chineguns on both types of vehicles were operated by the crews in ad- 
dition to submachineguns. Not much is known about the numbers of 
the 83d at this time, but it had experienced little combat since the be- 
ginning of the invasion.^ 

s " Ibid. 
u Ihhi. 

i! Ibid., Enemy Fortes, up. at., i<S-7. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

During the advance on Chinju the NKPA column ran into elements 
of the United States 24th Infantry Division and was stopped by ma- 
chinegun fire at Hadong. All three regiments of the 6th Division had 
to be committed before this halfway point could be secured, and the 83d 
Motorcycle Regiment was blooded in the attack. More hard fighting 
awaited on the road to Chinju, but the two NKPA outfits battled their 
way into the town on or about 30 July 1950. 

Brigade Air Strikes First 

These North Korean units were destined to become the opponents of 
the Brigade a few days later. Before the Marine ground forces could get 
into action, however, the air components struck the first blow. 

When Lieutenant Colonel Walter E. Lischeid's VMF-214 landed on 
board the Sicily on 3 August, eight of its Corsairs were immediately re- 
fueled and armed. At 1630, the initial Marine offensive action of the war 
was launched as the fighter planes roared up from the carrier's flight deck. 
Minutes later rheir incendiary bombs and rockets were hirting Red- held 
Chinju and the village of Sinban-ni. A series of strafing runs concluded 
the Marines' greeting to the North Korean People's Army. 33 

While the 2 Red bases were erupting in smoke and flame, 2 other 
pilots of the squadron flew from the Sicily to Taegu to be briefed on the 
broad tactical situation. They returned from their visit with maps and 
intelligence material for guidance in future operations. 34 

The squadron flew 21 sorries on 4 August against enemy bases con- 
trolling the pressure on Eighth Army's southern flank. Racing in from 
the sea, gulf winged Marine planes struck at bridges, railroads, and troop 
concentrations in the Chinju and Sachon areas. 

On 5 August, the Sicily steamed into the Yellow Sea. Marine planes 
descended on Inchon, Seoul, and Mokpo, battering airfields, factories, 
warehouses, railroads, bridges, and harbor facilities. The same pattern of 
destruction was repeated the following day. 35 

On 6 August came a thundering bid for fame by VMF-323, as its 
sleek Corsairs streaked toward Korea. Operating from the deck of the 
Badoeng Strait, the squadron flew 30 sorties in deep support forward of 
Eighth Army lines. Carrying the mail with 500-pound bombs, 20-mm. 

» VMF-214 SAR, 14 Jul-6 Sep 50. 
M ibid. 
» Ibid. 


Prelude to Battk 99 

cannon and 5-inch rockets, Marine pilots struck at Communist troop 
concentrations, vehicles, supply dumps, bridges and railroads. 16 

Planning the Sachon-Chinju Offensive 

As early as 3 August, during the Brigade move from Pusan to Chang- 
won, General Craig and Lieutenant Colonel Stewart had flown by heli- 
copter to Masan for a conference of troop commanders There they 
joined General Walker and Genera! Kean at the lattcr's 25th Division 
command post. Also present was Brigadier General George B. Barrh, 
artillery officer of the 25th. 37 

Craig suggested to the Eighth Army commander that some ROK 
army trainees be attached to the Brigade. There were thousands of such 
Korean recruits, and a few serving as scouts, interprcrers, and rear-area 
guards would be of great value to rhe Marines, Walker agreed ro provide 
the native troops and arm them as well. 38 

The Army leader confirmed the previous night's telephonic orders 
which had caused the Brigade's move ro Changwon. After the four 
generals had discussed the tactical situation on the southern flank, 
Walker directed Craig to have the Brigade prepared for commitment to 
combat any time after the evening of 5 August. w 

This schedule worked out perfectly from Craig's point of view. The 
Air Support Section at Chinhae had just established communications 
with the two carrier-based squadrons. Army-Navy-Marine co-operation 
thus enabled rhe Brigade commander to lead his entire air-ground team 
into battle. 

On 5 August Craig and Stewart flew to Masan for a final meeting with 
Walker and Kean. The Eighth Army commander outlined his plans for 
the first UN counteroffensive. In forceful terms, he expressed his dis- 
satisfaction with the course of the war up to that time. He announced 
that the strategy of trading space for time had come to an end, and he 
did not mince words in referring to past UN defeats. With firm convic- 
tion in the cause, he had ordered all units to stand to the death. The 
Eighth Army could not and would not lose more ground or equip- 
ment.'' Advances had been made by the enemy with such rapidity that 

M VMF-323 SAR, op. cit. 
57 Craig, 2 5 Jan 54. 

* tm. 
•"> ibid 

* Btd. 


The Pmcm Perimeter 

he had extended his supply lines almost to the breaking point, con- 
cluded Walker. The time had come to strike back ^ 

To rhe 25th Division, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, and 5rh RCT 
would go the honor of launching the counterattack from Chindong-ni, a 
small coastal village 8 miles sourhwest of Masan on the road to Chinju. 
In its effort to roll up the southern UN flank, the NKPA 6th Division 
was exerting heavy pressure on Chindong-ni from both the west and 

A few miles wesr, the irregular coastline takes a sharp turn to the south 
to form a stubby peninsula about 25 miles wide and 15 miles long. Near 
the western base is the important town of Sachon. About 10 miles above 
this western junction of peninsula and coast lies Chinju. Both Sachon 
and Chinju were the targets of Walker's counteroffensive. 

Approximately 3 Vi miles west of Chindong-ni is the tiny thatched- 
hut hamlet of Tosan, an unimpressive road junction which could be 
easily overlooked. The western fork is merely the continuation of the 
main route leading directly to Chinju, some 25 miles distant. The other 
fork branches south from Tosan and also goes to Chinju; but it skirts the 
coastline of the peninsula just described, passing rhrough the com- 
munication hubs of Paedun-ni, Kosong, and Sachon. Thus, while both 
roads lead to Chinju, the southern or peninsular route is 17 miles longer. 

Since it was known that enemy forces were present on the small 
peninsula, any UN thrust astride the main road to Chinju would be 
exposed to a constant flanking threat from the left. To eliminate this 
danger. Walker had decided to send the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade 
around the southern roure from Tosan ro Sachon. After the peninsula 
was secured, the 5th RCT would strike out for Chinju along the main 
road, while rhe 35th Infantry of rhe 25th Division guarded its right flank 
in the mountains to the north, 43 

Craig and Srcwarr opposed this plan, arguing that the Brigade itself 
would be exposed to flanking danger on the right, if it made the initial 
advance alone. 41 

After further discussion, it was decided that all three units would 
attack simultaneously along the routes already designated. However, the 
5th RCT was given a preparatory mission of uncovering the Tosan junc- 
tion befote the Brigade began its advance. 44 D-day was scheduled for 7 

■" Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 
"Stewart, 15 Jan 54. 
" WA 

" Annex How; and Brig Op Plan 4-50. 

Prelude to Battle 


August. All participating units were to be part' of Task Force Kean, so 
named after the 25th Division commanding general who would exercise 
overall control. 

Craig hurried from the conference to alert the Brigade, In a past mili- 
tary age a general might have sprung into the saddle, but the Brigade 
commander had discovered a steed that covered more ground. He and 
Stewart climbed into a H03S-1 helicopter piloted by Lieutenant Gustave 
F. Lueddeke of VMQ-6, and a few minutes later they landed at Lieutenant 
Colonel Murray's CP ro brief him on the forthcoming action. 

30571} O-F-55 — a 



Action on Hill 342 

y .t— The Perimeter on Hill 342 -Call for Artillery 
Pirn—Task Force Kean Stalled— General Craig Assumes Control- 
Enemy Attack at Dawn 

ON 6 august 1950 the Brigade was attached to the 25th Infantry 
Division and ordered forward to Chindong-ni. The area from that 
village westward toward rhe Tosan junction was occupied by thinly 
spread elements of the 5th RCT and the 27th Infantry. While the former 
took over front line positions preparatory to launching the main attack 
on the next day, the latter was gradually displacing rearward to go into 
Eighth Army reserve. 1 

To facilitate the eatly relief of the 27th Infantry, Lieutenant Colonel 
Robert D. Taplett's 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, departed from Changwon 
at 1040, 6 August, and arrived at Chindong-ni less than 2 hours later. 
The infantry unit was accompanied by the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines; 
the 2d Platoon, 75-mm. Recoilless Guns; and rhe 3d Platoon, Company 
A Engineers. After assembling in a schoolyard north of the village, 3/5 
relieved the 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry, on and around Hill 255. 2 

One and a half miles our of Chindong-ni, the road from Masan takes 
a sharp turn so that it is running generally norrh and south before it 
enters the village. Hill 255 borders the west side of the road, rising from 
the valley floor just above Chindong-ni and climbing northward to its 
summit in a series of prominent steps. Its ridgcline is narrow, with the 
eastern slopes falling steeply to the Masan route while its western wall 

1 Annexes 1 and 2 to 25th Inf"Div War Diary, Sep 50, Book VIII; and Brig SAR, bask: 

2 All hill numbers given in this text refer to the highest peak of the specific high ground 
being considered. Numbers indicate height in meters above sea level, and Hill 255 is there- 
fore more than 800 feet high. Chindong-ni, being almost at the water's edge, may be taken 
as sea level. 



The Pman Perimeter 

plunges sharply to the valley and road connecting Chindong-ni and 

Taplett set up his CP, headquarters units, and weapons company 
along the first step of the hill. Higher up, at the top of the second rise, 
Captain Joseph C, Fegan deployed Company H in defensive positions 
facing generally north. Forward, a long narrow plateau stretched for 250 
yards before the third step of the ridge rose abruptly to the second 
highest peak on the hill. Noting the advantages of the commanding 
ground to his north, Fegan requested permission to move his company 
forward to that area. Since this would have placed him 500 yards from 
the nearest 3/5 unit, the request could not be granted. 5 

The battalion commander intended to keep his defenses as tightly knit 
as possible in order to discharge his mission of blocking the approaches 
to the Masan-Chindong-ni MSR. Despite vigorous patrolling by 25th 
Division units in the mountains between the coastal village and Haman, 
intelligence reported increasing numbers of enemy troops, heavy 
weapons, and equipment in the area to the norrh, Ir appeared that large 
NKPA forces were slipping through and descending on Chindong-ni to 
"cur off the windpipe" of Walker's southern flank. 

First Lieutenant Robert D. Bohn, commandei of Company G, de- 
ployed his 2d and 3d Platoons on Hill 99, to the west and across the 
valley from 255. He arranged his defenses to block the approaches from 
the high ground on his north (actually an extension of Hill 99) and 
from the valley to the west, sepatating him from massive Hill 342. 4 

On a small knoll at the base of Hill 255 was deployed Company G's 
1st Platoon, commanded by Second Lieutenant John H. Cahill. With 
the 75-mm. recoilless gun plaroon artached, this unit guarded the 
Haman road 600 yards from Chindong-ni.' 

On high ground east of the MSR and beyond the village sat the 2d 
Platoon of Company H, with the mission of defending against infiltra- 
tion from the direction of the sea and the mountains southeast of the 
road to Masan. 6 

This completed the infantry deployment. Company H had its three 
platoons spread over 1 ,500 yards, while those of Company G ranged at 
least an equal distance. Due to the lack of a third company, Taplett had 
no reserve other than a handful of headquarters troops. Thus 3/5 got its 

1 Maj Joseph C. Fegan interv with authors, 17 Apr 54 (Fegan, 17 Apt 54). 
4 Capt R. D. Bohn interv with authors, 17 Apr 54 (Bohn, 17 Apr 54). 

? tm 

'Fegan, 17 Apr 54. 

Action on Hill 342 


taste of things to come in a strange war of mountains and men. 

As the riflemen were digging their hilltop holes with traditional dis- 
taste, other supporting elements of the Brigade and 5th Marines began 
to arrive at Chindong-ni and set up for business. These included the 
Brigade Reconnaissance Company and a platoon of the regimental 
4.2-inch Mortar Company. 7 All Marine units in the area temporarily 
came under control of 3/5 's Battalion Commander. Taplett was given 
the added responsibility of handling all area requests for tactical air 
support. 8 

For the time being, the 3d Battalion itself was under operational con- 
trol of Colonel John H, Michaelis, USA, commander of the 27th 
Infantry "Wolfhounds." Verbal instructions from Major General Kean 
on 6 August had given the Army officer control of all troops in rhe 
Chindong-ni area. When a second Marine battalion arrived tn the locale, 
command would then pass to General Craig. y 

By 1600, Taplett had reported his command post location and defen- 
sive positions to Michaelis. Immediately afterwards he ordered mortars 
and artillery to lay registration fires on the northern approaches to 
Chindong-ni.' Having left the phantoms of Changwon far behind, the 
Marines of the reinforced battalion settled down for the night. 

First Platoon Fight 

Shortly after midnight, the 3d Battalion received an unexpected message 
which precipitated the first Marine infantry action of the war. Colonel 
Michaelis radioed Taplett and passed on a directive from 25th Division, 
ordering the Marine bartalion to commit immediately one reinforced 
platoon for the defense of Hill 342. He explained that this unit was to 
relieve a beleaguered Army company being slowly eaten away in a pri- 
vate war of attrition, Taplett informed the regimental commander that 
he could ill afford to spare 1 of his 6 rifle platoons, but was told in return 
that General Kean had ordered 342 held at all costs." 
Tagged with the ominous sounding name "Yaban-san" by Koreans, 

' Annex How. 

e LtCol R. D. Taplett interv with authors, 20 Apr 54 (Taplett, '20 Apr 54). 
' Brig SAR, basic rpt. 
,n Ibid.; and Annex How. 

11 This section of the narrative is derived from: LtCol R. D. Taplett interv with the 
author. 16 Nov 53 and 19 May 54; Annexes Easy and How to Brig SAR; and Capt 
J- H. CahiH Itr to authors, 9 Dec 53. 


The Ptisan Perimeter 

this hill resembles a huge molar whose roots rise from the MSR west of 
Chindong-ni and lead to a.tremendous mass about 2,000 yards north of 
the road. There the ground climbs sharply, culminating in a peak 1,100 
feet high. Beyond, a long saddle extends a few thousand yards north- 
west, connecting 342 with a height of almost 2,000 feet. The latter was a 
stronghold of NKPA 6th Division elements, making a determined bid 
ro carry 342 and cut the MSR. 

Assigned the mission of making the Brigade's first ground contact was 
young Lieutenant Cahill of Company G. His 1st Platoon was reinforced 
with a machinegun squad and SCR-300 operator before he led it from 
3/5 's petimeter. 

Moving westward on the MSR, the platoon reached Michaelis' CP, 
located near the bridges south of Hill 99- Cahill was told that he would 
be met by a guide at a road junction 700 yards farther down the MSR. 
From this point the platoon followed a soldier who escottcd Cahill to 
the CP of the 2d Battalion, 5th RCT. This headquarters was situated just 
north of the road, on the tip of 342's eastern "root," 1 of the 2 long 
ridges leading to the hill itself. 

The Marine officer was told to relieve the Army company on the 
summit and hold the hill wirh his platoon. Following a quick briefing, 
Cahill and rhe guide led the column northward from rhe CP, skirring 
the western base of rhe ridge. A few hundred yards along rhe way, the 
guide discovered that he had miscalculated in the darkness. More time 
was lost while the platoon descended to resume rhe correcr route. 

As the men threaded their way along the unseen trail, a few enemy 
arrillery shells burst nearby. The column reached the end of the valley 
separaring the two long spurs of 342, and a volley of rifle fire cracked in 
rhe darkness. Two of Cahill's Marines were painfully wounded. 

Since rhe column was still in friendly territory, the guide advised 
Cahill not to climb 342 until dawn shed light on the mystery. It was 
then 0500, 7 August, and the Marine platoon had marched 3 miles from 
its original position. 

Shortly after first light, it was discovered that soldiers of the 2d Bat- 
talion, 5th RCT, had fired on the Marines, not realizing that friendly 
units were moving within the area. 

As the sun rose in a cloudless sky, Cahill took the lead. First, he 
climbed the high ground joining 342 with its eastern spur, then crossed 
over and continued toward the peak from a sourhcasterly direction. 

The platoon made good progress at the outset, but the heat became 
stifling; and all the while the slopes of 342 stretched ahead like a 

The Ptuan Perimeter 

continuous wall. Stumbling, gasping for breath, soaked with perspira- 
tion, every Marine reached the point at which he barely managed to drag 
himself up the steep incline. There were choked curses as men gained a 
few feet, only to slip and fall back even farther. 

Water discipline collapsed as canteens were quickly emptied. Marines 
began to drop along the slope, some unconscious, others doubled over 
and retching. The tactical formation of the platoon became tagged, but 
Cahill and his NCO's urged the men upward. 

Accompanied by Sergeant Lee Buermer, Cahill set out to contact the 
Army company commander on the summit and reconnoitet the area. 
Seventy-five yards from the top, he was fired on from the eastern slopes. 
Since be was in sight of the Army troops on the crest, it was obvious 
that the North Kotean People's Army had officially greeted the 1st 
Provisional Marine Brigade. 

The Perimeter on Hill 342 

Convinced that he was encountering only sniper fire, Cahill ordered 
Buettner to stay behind and keep the platoon moving up a draw afford- 
ing cover. Then, ignoring enemy marksmen, the young officer climbed 
up to the cresr and entered a grim little company perimeter under con- 
stant rifle and machincgun fire from its front and both flanks. 

It was 0830 when the Army company commander greered Cahill and 
explained his defenses. It had been customary, he said, to man a broad 
front during the day and draw back into a tight perimeter at night. Bur 
the intense enemy fire of the previous night had not diminished after 
daybreak, with the result that his men still occupied their night perime- 
ter. The Army officer added that he had teturned his mortars to the base 
of the hill, since they had drawn too much fire to be effective. Deployed 
around a triangular perimeter conforming to the shape of 347's peak 
were the remnants of his three shattered platoons. 

While Cahill appraised the situation, his platoon labored up the hill 
under prodding by Buettner and other NCO's. Well up the southeastern 
slope, the column suddenly came under automatic weapons fire from 
invisible enemy positions. The exhausted Marines set up weapons along 
the hillside and fired at area targets. Despite the blistering sun and whine 
of bullets, NCO's led their fire teams and squads up roward the peak. 

When the Marines reached Cahill, he learned that I man had been 
killed and 6 wounded, including Staff Sergeant Robert Robinson, pla- 

Action on Hill 342 

toon sergeant, and Sergeant Thomas Blaekmon, platoon guide. A num- 
ber of heat casualties were recuperating far down the slope, and one 
Marine had suffered an emotional collapse. Blackmon, despite a mortal 
wound, had been so intent on joining his platoon leader at the crest that 
four weary men were required to carry him down the hillside to safety. 
Three other able-bodied Marines also had to assist wounded men down 
the hill. 

Of the 52 men who had set out the previous night, only 37, including 
those recovered from heat sickness, finally reached Cahill. As they assem- 
bled on the reverse slope of 342, a group of soldiers on the crest broke 
under a heavy volume of enemy fire and bolted from the perimeter. The 
Army company was on rhe verge of panic until a young Army lieutenant 
restored order and led the men back to their foxholes. 

Cahill and his remaining NCO's crawled around the perimeter to 
insert Marines in positions among those of the Army troops. This psy- 
chology was sound, for each infantryman, eyeing his Army or Marine 
neighbor, prided himself on setting a high standard of military conduct. 
Prom that time on, evety man discharged his responsibility in a most 
exemplary manner. 

Two more Marines had been killed instantly while being led to their 
positions by Sergeant Jack Macy. These casualties brought the platoon's 
total to 3 KIA and 8 WIA. 

It is not likely that CahiU's men were interested enough in historic 
dates to recall that it was the eighth anniversaty of the Marine landing 
on Guadalcanal in World War II. For at noon, the fight on Hill 342 took 
on aspects of a siege. Swarms of North Koreans inched upward toward 
the crest, taking advantage of cover and concealment as they kept a steady 
stream of rifle and machinegun fire cutting across rhe hilltop. Despite 
the visual handicap resulting from the enemy's use of smokeless powder, 
the Marines and soldiers returned the fire with determination. 

Due to the urgency of rhe situation on 342, the 2d Battalion, 5th RCT, 
ordered its company to remain on the crest with CahiU's platoon. Plans 
Were already underway for a larger Marine force to clear the high ground. 

Call for Artillery Fires 

In the meantime Cahill used his initiative to improve the situation. With 
his SCR-300, he called for Army artillery fire to silence the Communist 
mortars. When the first shells were fired for registration, he searched the 


The Pusan Perimeter 

perimeter and located an artillery forward observer. Accurate bursts were 
laid on likely looking mortar OP's in enemy territory, yet the Commu- 
nist tubes continued to fire. 

With ammunition and water in critical supply, the Marine officer 
radioed 3/5 's CP and requested an air drop. Taplett's Tactical Air Control 
Party relayed the message to the Brigade Air Section, and an Air Force 
R4D transport flew over the restricted drop area atop Hill 342. The 
precious supplies tumbled from the big plane— into enemy territory. A 
single recovered packet contained carbine cartridges, the one type not 

The Brigade Air Section then turned the mission over to VMO-6. 
Every 5 -gal I on water can owned by the squadron was donated, and the 
more maneuverable OY-2's were able to drop them within the confined 
perimeter. Unhappily, the containers burst upon striking the ground, so 
that the parched hill defenders were able to salvage only a fewmouthfuls 
of water apiece. 

Sergeant Macy reacted with vigor. With Cahill's permission, he 
organized a few volunteers into a pattol to search for water. Descending 
rhe perilous southeastern slope under fire, the little group struck out for 
the village of Taepyong-ni, located along the base of 342's eastern spur 
and facing Hill 99 across the valley. 

As the afternoon wore on, the Army-Marine defenders clung to their 
precarious perch, despite swollen tongues and Communist fire. The 
enemy had succeeded in surrounding the entire peak with a ring of fire. 
Several more casualties were inflicted on the infantry company, and a 
Marine machinegunner was killed instantly by a sniper who had worked 
his way to the south of the perimeter. 

Task Force Kean Stalled 

Although the night of 6-7 August had been uneventful for 3/5's front 
lines around Chindong-ni, Taplett's CP near the base of Hill 255 came 
under sporadic shelling between 0100 and 0400. The first messages from 
Cahill, received about 0600, caused anxiety over the fate of his platoon. 12 
At 0200 that morning, a long column of trucks had set out from 
Changwon, carrying Lieutenant Colonel Harold S. Roise's 2d Battalion, 
5 th Marines. The head of the convoy reached Chindong-ni about 0500 

,J Annex How, 

Action on Hill 342 


and entered the truck turn-around in a schoolyard at the base of Hill 
255. 1} As 2/5 unloaded, the turn-around became a bottleneck of vehicles, 
men, and equipment which slowed movement on the MSR itself almost 
to a standstill. To make matters worse, the heavy traffic gradually 
pounded the schoolyard into a quagmire, so that trucks bogged down 
and added co the confusion. 

While Roise was assembling his battalion, the entire area came under 
heavy mortar and artillety fire from the north. The sudden shelling, 
which caused 2/5's first battle casualties, brought all traffic on rhe road 
from Chang won to an abrupt halt. 

Although the Marines of the 2d Battalion were well covered behind 
Hill 255, bursts from shells striking the trees high on the ridge filled the 
air with fragments. Before the enemy mortars ceased, 1 Marine had been # 
killed and 1 1 wounded, including Captain George E. Kittrcdge, Jr., 
commander of Company E, 14 

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, whose headquarters was behind Roise's 
unit in the convoy, was still north of Chindong-ni when the column 
slowed almost to a standstill. He radioed 2/5's commander and told him 
to keep the trucks moving despite the shelling. Roise replied that the 
muddy schoolyard, not enemy fire, was the main cause of the delay. Thus 
Murray received the first of many object lessons in Korean geography. 
He sat patiently in his jeep, while the column inched into Chindong-ni. 1 * 

After the regimental commander arrived in Chindong-ni, the 3d Bat- 
talion, less CahilPs platoon, reverted to his control. Because of the battle 
in progress on Hill 342 and enemy activity to the north of the village 
perimeter, Murray ordered 2/5 to occupy and defend an expanse of 255 
above Company H's positions. He directed 1/5 (following his headquar- 
ters in the column from Changwon) to occupy Hill 99, thus relieving 
Company G ro bolster Taplett's lines on lower 255. 16 

General Craig arrived at Chindong-ni shortly after 0700, just in time 
to be warmly gteeted by the enemy shelling as he stepped from his heli- 
copter. Since the Btigade attack scheduled for 7 August hinged on the 
5th RCT's success at the Tosan junction, Craig quickly arranged for a 
telephone line to that unit, so that his CP would be in constant contact. 17 

News from the front was not good. At 0630, after air and artillery 

13 Ibid,; and LiCol H. S. Roise let to authors, 5 Feb 54 (Roise, 5 Feb 54). 
« I hid. 

" Murray, 15 Feb 54. 
IS Annex How, 

17 LtGen E. A. Craig Itr to authors, 12 Jan 54 (Craig, 12 Jan 54). 


The Pman Perimeter 

preparations, the 5th RCT had jumped oft' on schedule. Just beyond the 
line of departure, it came to a sudden halt as a result of increased enemy 
activity north of the road. Elements of the NKPA 6th Division, paying 
little attention to the plans of Task Force Kean, had launched an attack 
of their own above the MSR. 

The situation on Hill 342 kept the entire 2d Battalion, 5th RCT, tied 
down in a fight to hold the Chinju road open. With the help of Cahill's 
platoon on the crest, this mission was being accomplished; but the bat- 
talion was temporarily lost to its regiment, and the road itself was 
choked with men and vehicles unable to move. 1 " 

General Craig Assumes Control 

The Brigade was ordered to provide a battalion for the relief of the Army 
unit on Yaban-san, so that the 5th RCT could strike harder at the road 
junction 2 x h miles to the west. 1 ' 1 

Just as 2/5 was ascending Hill 255, Lieutenant Colonel Murray 
received word from Brigade of the Marine commitment. The 5th Ma- 
rines commander canceled Roise's orders and directed him to relieve 
both Cahill's platoon and the 2d Battalion, 5th RCT, and to seize the 
remainder of Hill W 

At 1120 on 7 August, General Craig received a telephone message 
from General Kean directing the Brigade commander to assume control 
of all troops in the Chindong-ni area until further otders. With this 
overall responsibility, Craig went forward to observe the 5th RCT in 
action. He ascertained by personal reconnaissance that enemy resistance 
was light, although few friendly gains were being made because of the 
scattered and confused nature of the fighting. :1 The MSR between 
Sangnyong-ni, at the base of Hill 342's spurs, and the vital Tosan junc- 
tion was jammed with men, vehicles, and equipment, while infantrymen 
probed the surrounding high ground in an effort to weed out snipers and 

When 2/5 reached the road junction at which Cahill had been met by 
the Army guide during the night, Lieutenant Colonel Roise ordered 
Company D ro move up the norrh fork, tracing the base of 342's eastern 

" BrigSAR, basic rpt. 

» m 

J0 Ibid.; and Annex How. 
21 Craig, 12 Jan 54, 


Action on Hill 342 


spur, and seize both the spur and great hill itself. Company E, now com- 
manded by 1st Lieutenant William E. Sweeney, was to pass behind 
Sangnyong-ni and seize the west spur. Such a deployment would leave 
the battalion spread thinly, but Roise's orders were to protect the wide 
valley formed by the two long ridges. This could be done only by occu- 
pying both spurs and 342 itself." 

Outside of Chindong-ni, Major Morgan J. McNecly, 2d Battalion 
S-3, had picked up Captain John Finn, Jr., CO of Company D, and the 
two officers drove ahead by jeep ro the village of Taepyong-ni at the 
eastern base of Hill 342. The staff officer informed Finn that Dog Com- 
pany was to relieve a 5th RCT unit on the high ground above the clump 
of thatched huts. Both McNeely and an Army guide said that the Ma- 
rines would meet no organized resistance in their climb.'' 

Having spent a sleepless night on the road from Changwon to Chin- 
dong-ni, Finn's infanrrymen were fagged, It was now mid afternoon, and 
the heat began ro take its toll of Dog Company. 

Just as the leading elements reached Finn at Taepyong-ni— 30 minutes 
after McNeely's departure— the column came under rifle and machine- 
gun fire from the high ground above the road and from the hamlet of 
Tokkong-ni across the valley on the right. The Marines thought they 
were being shot at by Army troops, but the chatter of Communist "burp 
guns" - 4 soon convinced rhem that they were meeting enemy resistance. 11 

Finn ordered his men into the rice paddies bordering the road. Calling 
his platoon leaders, he told them that thete was no real intelligence, but 
that the fire from Tokkong-ni would be ignored due to the company's 
fnission on 342. He assigned routes of ascent to each platoon. The 2d, 
under Second Lieutenant Wallace J. Reid, would push through Taepyong- 
ni and on up the hill at its juncture with the spur. On the left, Second 
Lieutenant Edward T. Emmelman would lead his 3d Platoon to the top 
of the spur. The 1st Platoon, commanded by Second Lieutenant Arthur 
A. Oakley, would hold the right flank and ascend the southern slopes of 
342 itself. 26 

Company D met scattered opposition. By the time it moved over the 
crest of the spur, five Marines had been wounded. The sun, however, ' 
had been more effective; for twelve men were completely unconscious 

" Roise, 5 Feb 54. 

" Cape j. Finn, Jr., !tr to authors, 1 Mar 54 (Finn, I Mar 54). 

M PPS-1943, Soviet 7.(52-mm. submachinegun, 

? Capt R. T. Hanifin Itr to authors, 15 Feb 54 (Hanifin, L5 Feb 54). 

"•Ibhl, .-and Finn. 1 Mar 54. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

from the 100° heat, and the rest of the company had neared the point of 

Finn ordered his executive officer, First Lieutenant Robert X Hanifin, 
Jr., to set up headquarters and the 60-mm. mortars on the high ground 
directly above Taepyong-ni. It was already early in the evening when 
Hanifin established a thin perimeter of headquarters personnel to safe- 
guard the CP. 21 

In the meantime, Finn was leading his three rifle platoons up the same 
southeastern approach to 342's summit which Cahill's platoon had 
scaled 12 hours earlier. The company commander could no longer over- 
look the combined effects on his men of heat and overexertion. A few 
hundred yards from the summit, he radioed Roise that Company D was 
exhausted. During the halt, Lieutenant Oakley climbed to the summit 
to contact the Army and Marine defenders. He returned just before dark 
with Cahill and the Army company commander. 2 * 

In the hurried conference that followed, the Army officer advised Finn 
against finishing the rugged climb and assured him that his soldiers and 
Cahill's platoon could defend the peak through the night. Informed of 
this by radio, Roise allowed Company D to hold its present position 
and relieve at dawn. 29 

Earlier in the day, Lieutenant Sweeney had led Company E up the 
lower tip of 342's western spur, then along the ridgeline toward the 
large hill mass. At intervals the company came under long range, ineffec- 
tual machinegun fire. But, as in the case of Finn's unit, the heat and 
terrain were more damaging than enemy bullets. At dusk, Company E 
had reached the midway point along the ridge, and there it dug in for 
the night. 

Under cover of darkness, Red Korean troops wormed their way around 
the little perimeter on the summit of Hill 342. Just befote dawn the 
soldiers and Marines were greeted by bursts of short-range rifle and ma- 
chinegun fire. The defenders returned the fire and hurled grenades down 
the slopes, but a small force of North Koreans succeeded in crawling 

W Hanifin, 15 Feb 54. 
» Finn, 1 Mar 54. 
» Ibid. 


Action on Hill 342 L11 

close enough to launch an assault against the northeast leg of the 
triangle. 3 " 

A fierce hand-to-hand struggle ensued at the point of contact, and the 
Communists were thrown back down the hill. One of CahilPs men died 
of bayonet and gunshot wounds, and another Marine and several soldiers 
were wounded, 51 

Finn's men struck out for the summit shortly after daybreak on 8 
August. With three platoons abreast along the southern face of 342, 
Dog Company pushed upward swiftly, brushing aside light resistance. 
Upon reaching the perimeter, the Marines came under a storm of fire 
from NK positions which ringed the northern half of the hill. 52 

The relief was effected, nevertheless, and Cahill's thinned squads 
descended Hill 342 together with the shattered Army company. The 
Marine platoon had lost 6 killed and 12 wounded— more than a third of 
[ he 52 men who had set out from Chindong-ni." But its determined 
stand with the beleaguered Army unit had saved the height and frus- 
trated the Communist attempts to establish a bastion overlooking the 

Company D fared no better than its predecessors at consolidating the 
crest of 342 and clearing upper slopes which were crawling with North 
Koreans, Finn's unit took several casualties in the fire fight that accom- 
panied and followed the relief of the original defenders. Two of those 
killed in action were Second Lieutenants Oakley and Reid. The only sur- 
viving platoon leader, Lieutenant Emmelman, received a serious head 
wound as he was pointing out targets to a Marine machinegunner. M 

Captain Finn, seeing Reid's motionless form lying ahead of the com- 
pany lines, crawled forward to recover the body. Having moved only a 
s hott distance with his burden, the company commander himself was 
struck in the head and shoulder by enemy bullets Barely conscious and 
almost blinded by blood, Finn crept back to his lines on his hands and 

A corpsman administered first aid and Company D's first sergeant 
helped the officer down the steep slope. 5 5 On the way the pair met Lieu- 
te nant Hanifin, who was leading company headquarters and the mortar 

30 Cahill, 9 Dec 53. 
Sl lh<d. 

j' Finn, 1 Mar 54; and Roise, 5 Feb 54. 
Annex Able to Annex How. 

14 Finn, 1 Mar 54; and Hanifin, 15 Feb 54. 

15 ma. 

l 16 

The Pman Perhrteter 

section to the high ground from their positions of the previous night. 
Finn informed the executive officer that he was now in command of the 
company." 5 

Reaching the summit, Hanifin had just enough time to reorganize his 
defensive positions and emplace the 60-mm. mortars before rhc Commu- 
nists launched another attack. Again Marine rifles, machineguns, and 
grenades scorched the northern slopes. Again rhe enemy was beaten 
back, leaving the hillside Uttered with dead. But Company D's casualties 
had mounted meanwhile to 6 killed in action and 25 wounded, 37 

About 1130, as the fire fight slackened, Roise phoned Hanifin from 
his OP on the eastern spur. The conversation had no sooner begun 
when the company commander collapsed from heat exhaustion, A vet- 
eran NCO and a young officer promptly filled the command vacuum. 
Company D's gunnery sergeanr, Master Sergeant Harold Reeves, as- 
sumed control of the three rifle platoons with the confidence of long 
experience. Second Lieutenant Leroy K. Wirth, a forward observer of 
1/11, took responsibility for all supporting arms, including the planes 
of MAG-33 circling overhead. The NCO of almost 30 years service and 
the young officer repeatedly ranged forward of the fronr lines to spot 
enemy positions for air strikes and make new appraisals of rhe situation. 
Company D remained steady, and never again did the North Koreans 
seriously threaten the hilltop. iS 

The 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry, was scheduled to relieve 2/5 on Hill 
342 during the afternoon of 8 Augusr; bur the Army unit was unable to 
reach rhe area for reasons to be explained latet. Informed of the change 
in plans, Roise kept his battalion busy with consolidation of positions 
and evacuation of casualties. 

Company E moved fotward a few hundred yards along rhe western 
spur of 342 and dug new foxholes. Captain And tew M. Zimmer reported 
from regimenr, where he had been an assistant S-3, and took command 
of Company D. 39 

Although the North Koreans continued to harass the "iron triangle" 
on the crest, there was no more hard fighting. A few additional casualties 
were taken by Zimmer's company, most of them occurring while Ma- 
rt ibid 

" Annex How; Hanifin, 15 Feb 54; and Maj A. M. Zimmer hr to author, IB Feb 54 
(Zimmer, 18 Feb 54). This breakdown of casualties is as nearly correct as can be ascer- 
tained from recollections of participants and a comparison with the final total given after 
2/5 was relieved on position. 

>" Hanifin, 15 Feb 54. 

19 Annex How. 

Action on Hill 342 117 

dries tried to retrieve airdropped supplies which had fallen wide of their 
mark. 4 " 

During die fighting on 342, Major Walter Gall, commander of 2/5 's 
Weapons Company, had dispatched a small patrol ro eliminate the enemy 
machineguns in Tokkong-ni, After a brief fire fight which cost three 
friendly casualties, the withdrawal of the patrol left the Communists still 
entrenched in the village. When the Marines returned to Weapons Com- 
pany lines on the eastern spur, First Lieutenant Ira T. Carr turned his 
8 1 -mm. mortars on Tokkong-ni and brought the enemy fire to an end. -11 

The night of 8-9 August was relatively quiet on 342. Obviously 
weakened by casualties, the enemy gave the Marine positions a wide 
berth. NKPA harassing fires consisted of periodic bursts from long-range 
machineguns and antitank guns. 42 There was desultory sniping during 
the morning of the 9th, but Brigade intelligence reported a gradual 
withdrawal of the enemy northward, 4 * 

That afternoon Company D was relieved by an Army unir when 2/5 
turned over responsibility for the hill to the 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry. 
The fight had made veterans out of the men Zimmer led down to the * 
road, but the company paid with 8 dead and 28 wounded. 44 

Documents taken from enemy dead disclosed that the defenders of 
Hill 342 had been opposed by elements of rhe 13th and 15th Regiments 
of the NK 6th Division. Lieutenant Cahill qualified his reporr of 150 / 
enemy dead as "conservative," * 5 and 2/5 set the total at 400 after its 
fight. 4 ' 1 The actual number of fatalities inflicted by Marine-Army infan- 
try and supporting arms probably lies somewhere between these two 

At any rate, the Red Korean commander had committed at least two 
rifle companies supported by machineguns, mortars and artillery. The \ 
force thrown against Yaban-san could be estimated at 500 to 600 troops,J 
and they had failed in their attempt to cut the MSR, 47 

1,1 Zimmer, 18 Feb 54. 

' 1 Maj Walter Gall intcrv wkli aurhors, n Feb 54. 

** Zimmer, 18 Feb 54. 

" Brig Periodic IntelRpr No. 6. 

'' 1 Zimmer, 18 Feb 54; and Annex How. 

"Cahill, 9 Dec 53. 

* Annex How. 

" Ibid.; and Brig Periodic IntelRpts Nos. 5 and 6. 
3057 13 O-F-55 — 9 



Advance to Kosong 

Heavy NKPA Resistance— Assault on Hill 253 — Confusion at 
Tosan Junction— Brigade Artillery in Support— Encounter With 
Japanese Maps— Ambush at Taedabok Pass— * " 

WHILE 2/5 AND the 1st Platoon of Company G were fighting the 
enemy and weather on 7 August, Lieutenant Colonel Taplett's 3d 
Battalion sat out an ominous calm at Chindong-ni, From their positions 
on Hills 255 and 99, Captain Fegan and Lieutenant Bohn periodically 
called for supporting fires to check enemy movement in the northern 
approaches to the village. 

At 1015 Second Lieutenant Lawrence W. Hetrick and his 3d Platoon, 
Company A Engineers, completed the laying of the first Marine mine- 
field, locared across the Haman road a half mile above Chindong-ni, 1 

Lieutenant Colonel Newton's 1st Battalion teached the village in the 
afternoon of the 7th and relieved Company G's two platoons on Hill 99. 
Bohn took his company back across the valley and deployed on the 
lower slopes of 255 facing the Haman road. These positions were hit by 
close-in sniper fire during the night of 7-8 August, and at dawn the Ma- 
rine infantrymen were startled to discover four NK soldiers emplaced 
less than 100 yards away in the valley. Both the enemy position and its 
occupants were quickly destroyed. 2 

Shortly after daybreak on 8 August— while Cahil! was being relieved 
On Yaban-san— the Marines of Company H noted a column of troops 
climbing Hill 255 from the direction of the Haman road. Believing the 
newcomers to be ROK soldiers, Fegan's men watched as the long file 
reached the high peak beyond the plateau forward of the Marine posi- 
tions. When the group set up facing Company H, Fegan became skep- 
tical enough to alert his riflemen and machinegunners. His precautions 

1 Annex How. 

1 Ibid.; and Bohn, 17 Apr 50. 



The Pman Perimeter 

were timely, for the visitors immediately opened fire on the Marines. 1 

This surprise attack had a critical effect on the Task Force Kean sec- 
tor. In possession of the high ground above 3/5, the North Koreans 
were able to block the Masan-Chindong-ni stretch of the MSR, leaving 
most of the American ground forces out on a limb for supply and rein- 
forcement purposes. Thus when the 2d Battalion, 24th Infantry, ad- 
vanced from Masan to relieve borh 3/5 and 2/5 on their respective hills, 
it was driven off the fire-swept road north of Chindongmi." 

Upon being informed of the enemy's presence, Taplett ordered Com- 
pany H to attack and destroy the Communist position. Fegan called 
his two platoon leaders 1 while the Marine infanrrymcn in the line 
exchanged shots with the enemy across the plateau. After a quick brief- 
ing, Second Lieutenant John O. Williams led his 1st Platoon to the 
long tableland. 6 

Echeloned ro the right, the skirmish line pushed aggressively over the 
open area, firing on the enemy as it moved forward. The platoon closed 
to within 30 yards of the Communist-held peak, but showers of hand 
grenades and continuous machinegun fire pinned down the attackers. 
Fegan sent a message forward, directing Williams to work around the 
enemy's left flank. Although one fire ream succeeded in reaching the 
rocks below the NK positions, the flanking maneuver failed. 

Heavy NKPA Resistance 

The 3d Platoon had taken several casualties. Marines still in the open 
area were unable to advance, while those who had attempted the en- 
velopment could only cling to the steep slopes above the MSR. When 
some of this group were struck by enemy fire, the impact sent them roll- 
ing helplessly down the sharp incline. 

Convinced that Williams could not carry the peak, Fegan otdeted 
him to pull his platoon back toward the line of departure and reorgan- 
ize. While the withdrawal was in progress, the company commander 
ordered the 3d Platoon ro pass through the 1st and continue the attack. 
There was no response to the order. 7 

Fegan realized that the men were momentarily unnerved after wit- 

1 Fegan, 17 Apr 54. 

1 Brig SAR, basic rpt; and Craig, 12 Jan 54. 

' The 2d Platoon was still in position east of the MSR. 

<■ Fegan, 17 Apr 54. 

' Ib id. 

Advance to Kawng 


nessing the failure of the first attack. The company commander, there- 
fore, assumed control and personally led the 3d Platoon forward on the 
plateau. Halfway across the open area, the new skirmish line passed 
thtough Williams' outfit as it was reforming. 

The Marines of the id Platoon responded with confidence to Fcgan's 
leadership. They crossed the tableland in a wedge formation with 1 
squad at the apex and the other 2 slightly withheld. Air strikes and ar- 
tillery preparations had little effect against the rocky crag beyond the 
plateau, so that the final assault was fought to a finish with small arms 
and grenades." 

Staff Sergeant John I. Wheatley, one of the ptime movers, fell 
wounded along with several of his men. Sergeant Edward F. Barrett, 
shot in the elbow and hip, lay helpless, exposed to enemy fire, until Cap- 
tain Fegan carried him back to safety. 

The 3d Platoon gained the rocky summit and worked its way through 
the NKPA position, a foxhole at a time, while the enemy resisted to the 
death. Cotporal Melvin James 9 hit the Red Korean left flank with his 
squad and drove deep into the enemy position. The NKPA right flank 
was rolled up by a vigorous assault sparked by Technical Sergeant Ray 
Morgan and Private First Class Donald Terrio 1(1 as each knocked out a 
Communist machinegun and its crew. 

Having wiped out the main enemy position, the 3d Platoon advanced 
northward about 200 yards to a gulf where rhe high ground fell away 
abruptly. Beyond this depression rose the highest step of the ridgeline's 
rugged staircase: Hill 255 with a height of more than 800 feet above the 
MSR. The three squads held up here to await further orders. 

How Company's fight up to this time had cose the Matines 6 dead 
and 32 wounded." 

Assault on Hill 255 

A column of NKPA reinforcements bound for Hill 255 was spotted 
during the action by Company G from its positions facing the Haman 
road. The enemy platoon struck out across the valley from the high 
gtound north of Hill 99, then attempted to ascend 255 via the same 
toute used by comrades at dawn. 

8 iHd.i and Annex How. 

'James was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for this action. 
" Morgan and Terrio received Silver Star medals. 
1 ' Annex How, 


The Pusan Perimeter 

The Marines of Company G and their supporting arms cut loose with 
a hurricane of fire. And after scattering in panic, the enemy survivors 
scuttled back to their starting point. 12 

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, upon being informed of the progress 
made by How Company, directed Taplctt to halt the attack and dig in 
for the night. While Fegan's men were carrying out this order under 
NKPA artillery and mortar fire, MAG-33 and the Marine artillery roared 
inro action. The saddle north of How Company's lines was pounded so 
mercilessly that the enemy pulled back from Fegan's immediate front. 
Throughout the night of 8-9 August, 1/11 and 3/5 's mortar platoon 
dropped a steel curtain across the batralion front, with the result that 
no enemy activity was noted. 1 ' 

The systematic reduction of enemy positions on Hill 255 the next 
morning was a triumph of supporring arms. Marine artillery shells led 
off ar 0825, followed by Marine air which worked the enemy over with 
the first close-support pay load of napalm tecorded so far in the Korean 
conflict. And four minures before Company H launched its final arrack 
on the hill, airborne TAC reporrcd rhe objective neutralized. 14 

Fegan's men scaled the peak against negligible opposition. Two 
knocked-out machineguns and a few enemy dead were all that remained 
at rhe summit. 15 

The plan for eliminating the threat to the MSR called for a Marine 
advance along Hill 255 to grid line 1350. North of this boundary, the 
ridge would be cleared by Army troops approaching from Masan. 

Company H sighted soldiers of the 24th Infantry at 1125 as they 
moved southward to the grid line, and the long ridge was considered 
secure. It had been no light price, however, that 3/5 paid to open the 
* MSR, Casualties on Hill 255 totalled 16 dead and 36 wounded, and since 
nearly all had been taken by Company H, Fegan's outfit was reduced by 
25 percent. 16 

Confusion at Tosan Junction 

On the whole, Task Force Kean's scheduled drive on Chinju and 
Sachon had not met with much success during the first 48 hours. The 

l; Bohn, 17 Apr 54. 
" Annex How. 

11 Bid 

15 Fegan, 17 Apr 54 
"> Annex How. 

Advance to Kosong 1 1 h 

only advance was made on the right, where rhe 35 th Infantry seized its 
first objective and inflicted an estimated 350 casualties on the enemy. 17 

In his capacity as provisional commander of all units along the Masan- 
Chinju axis, General Craig was directing the Army operations at the 
front and in rhe rear areas of the Task Force sector. Thus on 8 Augusr 
he ordered the 5th RCT to continue its attack and take Tosan, so that 
his Marines could make progress on the road to Sachon. 

After preparatory fires, the Army regiment again pushed forward to- 
ward its immediate objective. Enemy resistance was much heavier than 
on the day before; nevertheless, some gains were made from the starting 
point near the village of Singi. The attack was also slowed by rhe nar- 
row MSR carrying the entire traffic load for the Task Force. Heavy fight- 
ing above the road on Hills 255 and 342 added ro the congestion and 
confusion on the vital artery. 

Lieutenant Colonel Newton's 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, had been 
ordered to move forward from Chindong-ni at 0600, 8 August, with the 
mission of attacking along the south fork of the Tosan junction prepara- 
tory to seizing a regimental objective which would be designated later."* 

Leaving its positions on Hill 99 at the assigned time, the battalion 
was stalled immediately at the bridges on the MSR below. The road was 
still clogged with soldiers and Army vehicles, making it impossible for 
the Marine unit ro proceed."- 1 

General Craig, who was in the vicinity, told Newton to hold up until 
the situation at the front became clarified. Company B, commanded by 
Captain John L. Tobin, was ordered back up on the hill it had just de- 
scended; and the battalion waited, three miles from its line of 
departure. 20 

Finally the word came to move up. While 1/5 worked irs way along 
the crowded road, Ncwron walked ahead and reached the CP of the 1st 
Battalion, 5th RCT, located on a hillside between Singi and Oryong. 
There he learned that the Army unit's companies were already on the 
high ground all around the junction and that the rice paddies between 
the battalion CP and these companies were full of North Koreans. The 
Army commander considered his subordinate units cut off. 21 

11 Annexes 1 and 3 to 25th InfDiv War Diary, Book VIII. 

'* Annex How; Brig Op Plan 5-50; and Col G. R. Newton, Itr to author, 3 Jan 54 
(Newton, 3 Jan 54). 
19 LtCol M. R. OUon, interv with author, 30 Dec 53 (Olson, 30 Dec 53). 
Col G. R. Newton, Itr to author, 19 Jan 54 (Newton, 19 Jan 54), 
Newton, 3 Jan 54; and Olson, 30 Dec 53. 


The Pman Perimeter 

Shortly afterwards, at about 1400, the head of 1/5 's column teached 
Newton and again came to a halt, a mile and a half from its line of de- 

Arriving on the scene at this time was a dispirited Army staff sergeant, 
dripping with mud and water. He said that he had just returned from 
Hill 308, south of the road junction, where his unit was heavily engaged 
with the enemy. And he added that Communist machineguns covering 
the wide rice paddy between 308 and the MSR had forced him to crawl 
almost the whole distance. 22 

Lieutenant Colonel Murray, while driving from Chindong-ni to the 
front, was stopped on the road by Major General Kean himself. The 
25th Division commander directed the Marine officer to arrange for a 
night relief of the 1st Battalion, 5th RCT. Kean stated that he would in- 
form Brigade headquarters of this change in plans as soon as possible. 2 ' 

It had become a question as to whether Task Force Kean or rhe 
NKPA 6th Division controlled Tosan. Newton radioed the 5th Marines 
commander and asked for enlightenment. Mutray, having just finished 
his conversation with General Kean, ordered the battalion commander 
to postpone the jumpoff until nightfall," 

After wirhdrawing to the outskirrs of Sangnyong-ni, 1/5 went into an 
assembly area beneath the western spur of Hill 342. There the battalion 
commander received specific orders to relieve the 1st Battalion, 5th 
RCT, on positions southwest of Tosan at midnight, 8 August, and secute 
the rroublesome road junction once and for all. 2 ' 

Newton was to have his battalion at the Army CP no later than 2300, 
when it would be furnished guides ro lead the way across rhe broad rice 
paddy to Hill 308. As it proved, the Marine unit actually reached the 
designated rendezvous at 2200. But even though an hour early, Newron 
discovered that the soldiers on 308 were already withdrawing. Moreover, 
no guides had been provided. 16 

The Marine battalion continued westward through Singi and stopped 
on the MSR about a half-mile short of Tosan. Here a narrow dike 
branched south from the road, and the soldiers were returning along this 
ttail from Hill 308 to the MSR. Since the footpath was pointed out as 
Newton's route of approach, he had little choice but to wait until the 

JJ Olson, 30 Dec 33. 

35 Col R. L, Murray, Itr to author, 7 Jan 54 (Murray, 7 Jan 54). 
W Newton, 3 Jan 54; and Olson, 30 Dec 53. 
" Annex How; Brig Op Plan 6-50; and Newton, 3 Jan 54, 
M Newton, 5 Jan 54 and 19 Jan 54; and Olson, 30 Dec 55. 


Advance to Kosong 125 

Army troops made rhe crossing. This was accomplished shortly after 
midnight, and the column of Marines was left alone in the night on un- 
familiar ground reported to be crawling with enemy.-" 

The promised guides reported for duty at this time. They turned out 
to be two South Korean civilians. Without further ado, rhe advance on 
Sachon was launched when a long single file of skeptical Marines fell in 
behind two unknown natives whose loyalty had to be accepted on faith. 

Following the 1,200-yard trail in the darkness was time-consuming as 
well as nerve-chilling. A misstep on the narrow, slippery dike usually 
meant a spill into the muck and filth of the paddy for some hapless in- 
fantryman. Nor only would he delay all those behind, but he would not 
be as fragrant as a rose in the nostrils of his comrades when he regained 
the dike. 

Finally rhe head of the file reached the base of Hill 308, having en- 
countered not a single enemy on the way. As more and more men 
threaded their way in from the paddy, tactical integrity was slowly re- 
gained. Dawn of 9 August was already breaking when the rear of the 
column completed the crossing, zfi 

Daybreak brought a radio message from Murray, directing 1/5 to con- 
tinue the attack to the southwest immediately and seize Hill 308. With 
Tobin's company leading, the battalion ascended the northern slopes in 
a long column. The climb took the Marines more than 1,000 feet up- 
ward and 2,000 yards to the south. Before the summit was reached, the 
relentless sun and terrain had taken its toll of Newton's infantrymen. 
Fortunately, enemy resistance amounted to mere sniping; and by noon, 
9 August, the massive terrain feature belonged to the Brigade.^ 

At 1700 that afternoon Craig's operational control of all troops in the 
area came to a close. At the end of the 54-hour period of the Marine gen- 
eral's overall command, the road junction had been cleared, and both 
Army and Marine columns were making progress toward the objective. 

in Support 

Nearly all rhe infantry actions of the first 3 days owed a good deal to the 
support of the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines. Consisting of three 4-gun 

" Ibid. 

iB Olson, 30 Dec 53. 


The Ptisan Perimeter 

batteries, Lieutenant Colonel Ransom M. Wood's outfit had relieved the 
8th Field Artillery Battalion at Chindong-ni on the eve of D-day. Since 
the terrain afforded no suitable al rem ate areas, the Marine gunners 
moved into the positions vacated by the Army artillery, partly in the vil- 
lage and partly on the outskirts. 

A total of 87 rounds were fired that first night in support of the 5th 
Marines, with the FO's reporting good results. Before long, however, 
enemy counterbattery fites searched out friendly positions in the village. 
Early the next morning a Marine battery took a direct hit from an 
NKPA 122-mm. shell. Two men were killed and 8 wounded by a blast 
which destroyed a 105-mm. howirzer. Thus, reversing the usual tule, 
the artillery suffered heavier casualties than the infantry at the jumpoff 
of the Brigade attack.* 

The gunners needed no furrher admonitions to dig foxholes, gunpits 
and ammunition pits. During the confused fighting around Chindong- 
ni, it was not unusual to have one battery laid on an azimuth generally 
east, another west, and a third to the north. 

"I think that this is one of the most important lessons we learned in 
fighting infilttating troops," commented Wood; "artillery must be able 
and always prepared to fire in any direcrion on a moment's notice." M 

From 7 to 9 August, with the battalion displacing forward as the in- 
fantry advanced, 89 missions and 1,892 rounds were fired. Targets con- 
sisted largely of enemy mortar positions. The terrain offered some knotty 
problems in firing close support missions, due to steep slopes; but the 
OY's of VMO-6 did a good job of spotting. 

Fifty ROK policemen were attached to 1/11 at this time to be used 
as security troops Wearing bright green uniforms and rubber shoes 
upon arrival, rhey became the responsibility of the battalion to feed, 
equip and train in marksmanship, sanitation and ammunition handling. 
The rice-eating Koreans turned up their noses at American food for a 
few days, but soon they could compete with any chow-hounds in the 

Another difficulty was experienced in convincing the newcomers that 
NKPA prisoners were to be brought in alive. Many personal scores re- 
mained to be paid off in war-torn Korea, but eventually the ROK's 
learned to control their hatred for the invaders. 

,0 Annex Item to Brig SAR. 

u LtCol Ransom M. Wood, "Artillerv Support for the Brigade in Korea," Marine Corps 
Gazette, 35, No. 6:16-17 (Jun 51). 
,J Ibid. 

Advance to Kosong 


As the men of 1/5 were consolidating their hilltop and searching for 
water to relieve heat prostration cases, Murray radioed Newton to with- 
draw his unit to the road below and continue the attack to Paedun-ni. 
The regimental commander was determined to speed up the advance to 
the south, since intelligence had reported no enemy on the high ground 
south of Hill 308," 

With almost half of Companies A and B stricken by heat sickness, 
Newton had no choice but to leave them in position on the high 
ground for the time being. He descended the hill to form a tactical col- 
umn with Headquarters and Weapons Companies and an attached pla- 
toon of tanks. 

Reaching the low ground northwest of Hill 308, the battalion com- 
mander discovered that his Japanese maps, as usual, bore only a slight 
resemblance to the actual ground. 

During the early weeks in Korea, the map situation was a thorn in 
the side of every tactical commander. Not only were maps of local areas 
extremely scarce, but the few available were of early Japanese vintage, 
almost consistently at variance with the terrain. Grid systems were con- 
fusing, villages misnamed and misplaced, and roads either not illus- 
trated at all or else plotted inaccurately. Lack of contouring left the con- 
formation and extent of ridges entirely to the imagination of the map 
reader. These shortcomings were a constant source of concern; for troop 
leaders often were misled, even ro the extent of getting completely lost. 

On the ground itself, there is an intersection called Oso-ri some 600 
yards south of the Tosan junction. The routes leading both south and 
West from this crossroads go to Paedun-ni. An unimproved road, the 
southward passage is more rugged, while the other, being good by Ko- 
rean standards, follows a smoother course through the town of Taesil-li. 

Newton s map showed only the latter improved road, so he formed 
his column and headed it toward Taesil-li, a thousand yards west of the 
intersection. ,4 Murray's map showed both roads, but in this case the 
southern route was erroneously drawn in as rhe better road. It was thus 
Murray's intention that 1/5 use this avenue of approach. And since he 
had spoken of it as the "improved" road, Newton was misled into 
choosing the route to Taesil-li," 

!i Murray, 7 Jan 54. 
14 Newton, 3 Jan 53. 
" Ibid; and Murray, 7 Jan 54. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

The quickly formed column of tanks and infantry had gone only a few 
hundred yards when the point stopped at a stretch of road littered with 
land mines. A call went out for a demolitions team. From his CP neat 
Chindong-ni, Captain George W. King dispatched his 1st Platoon, Able 
Company Engineers. Arriving at the scene, the Marine troubleshooters 
discovered the obstacles to be merely American antitank mines, appar- 
ently spilled on the road from an Army vehicle. 

About this time. Lieutenant Colonel Murray arrived at Oso-ri and in- 
formed 1/5 's commander that he was on the wrong road. Newton rea- 
soned that his unit was following the correct route. After comparing the 
conflicting maps, the regimental commander studied the terrain and di- 
rected Newton to pull his column back and take the road to the south. 
Then Murray returned to Sangnyong-ni, climbed into an observation 
plane, and was flown over the route to confirm his decision.' 6 

There was no small amount of confusion as the long column of tanks, 
infantrymen, and engineers pulled back along the narrow road to 
the intersection. And it was unfortunate for 1/5 that General Craig 
reached the area while the milling was ar its worst. Unaware of what 
had taken place earlier, the Brigade commander did not refer to the de- 
lay and congestion in the most soothing tetms. 37 

While the column was being reformed on the southern road, villagers 
from Taesil-li informed the Marines that a badly wounded American was 
lying in the hamlet. Craig's jeep driver sped to the clump of thatched 
huts and returned with a soldier who was more dead than alive, having 
been left behind by retreating NKPA forces. The man was rushed to the 
rear for medical attention, while Craig stayed forward to supervise the 
attack. ,B 

The long file of Marines and tanks began moving southward along 
the winding road below Hill 308. Newton had notified his company 
commanders of the change, so that they could meet him by descending 
the western slope of the high ground. 

About a mile south of the confusing intersection, the point of 1/5 's 
column rounded a sharp curve. It was grcered by a lone Norrh Korean 
machincgun hidden in a native hut at the center of the bend. While a 
Marine brigadier watched with professional satisfaction, a team of in- 
fantrymen with a rocket launcher closed on the hut and quickly de- 
stroyed the enemy position. 

16 Murray, 7 Jan 54, 

" Craig, 12 Jan 54. 

,fl Ibid.; and Newton, 19 Jan 54. 

Advance to Kosong 129 

It was late afternoon as the column resumed its march to the south. 
Covering several hundred more yards without incident, it reached the 
top of a 400- foot pass where the road knifed between Hills 308 and 190. 
There Newton was joined by Companies A and B from Objective 
One. 19 The 1st Battalion was ordered to hold up and take defensive posi- 
tions astride the pass. 

Thus, the drive toward Sachon had finally taken shape, and the Bri- 
gade was entering its own zone of responsibility. As darkness fell on 9 
August, 1/5 was in position 2 miles south of theTosan line of departure, 
and General Craig had already set in motion plans f 

Ambush at Taedabok Pass 

On 9 August the Brigade commander was convinced that the absence 
of resistance in 1/5's path indicated unpreparedness on the part of the 
enemy. To exploit the advantage, he ordered Murray to execute a night 
attack and capture Paedun-ni before daylight, 10 August. 4 " 

At 1600 on 9 August, the Brigade was relieved of mopping up duties 
in the Chindong-ni area, leaving 2/5 immediately available to the 5th 
Marines commander. The 3d Battalion was delayed overnight by several 
hours of security duty until Army units could take over. 41 

Lieutenant Colonel Roise's battalion, having been relieved on Hill 
342, entrucked at Sangnyong-ni in the evening and reached its assembly 
area near Hill 308 at 2100. Two hours later the unit marched southward 
on the new MSR to make the night attack on Paedun-ni, Passing 
through 1/5's lines at 0115, 10 August, the weary Marines pressed on 
toward their target against no resistance. 

The point of the column included three M-26's of First Lieutenant 
William D. Pomeroy's tank platoon. At 0500, with the advance ele- 
ments only a short distance from Paedun-ni, the lead tank crashed 
through a concrete bridge. The badly damaged vehicle proved to be 
Wedged immovably between the two abutments. 

The second tank, while attempting to negotiate a narrow bypass next 
to the bridge, threw a track in the center of the stream and stalled the 
long column behind. Two hours elapsed before the advance could be 

"Olson, 30 Dec 53. 
*> Brig Op Plan 7-50. 

"This section is derived from: Annex How; Craig, 12 Jan 54; Zimmer, 18 Feb 54; 
Fegan and Bohn, 17 Apr 54; and Gall, 9 Feb 54. 

Advance to Kosong 

resumed. South Korean laborers constructed a bypass for light vehicles 
next to the bridge, and an engineer tractor-dozer arrived to build a 
detour for heavy trucks and tanks. 

Reaching Paedun-ni at 0800, 2/5 reconnoitered the town and found it 
clear of enemy. By 0930 the battalion column was reformed and pound- 
ing the dusty road south. 

Murray decided to shuttle troops by truck from Paedun-ni to Kosong, 
since the 8-mile stretch was believed to be free of enemy. The heavier 
vehicles being tied up at the collapsed bridge, some delay resulted in 
mororizing'thc first increment of 2/5. 

Genera] Craig arrived on the scene by helicopter in mid-morning. 
Not satisfied with the progress of the advance, he ordered Murray and 
Roise to march on Kosong with "all speed." When the infantry column 
was a short distance out of Paedun-ni, the 5th Marines commander 
managed to get five 2 '/2-ton trucks forward to help ttansport the first 
serial to the target. 

A motorized column was formed of 4 lead jeeps carrying a Recon- 
naissance Company detachment, followed by part of Company D aboard 
6 more jeeps and the 5 trucks. Owing to the shorrage of vehicles, Cap- 
rain Zimmer's first echelon included only the 1st and 2d Platoons, the 
60-mm. mortars, an assault squad, and one machinegun section. 

Lacking either air or artillery support, the column rolled southward 
with orders to occupy Kosong and coordinarc a defense of rhe city with 
its mayor. The remainder of 2/5 continued on foot until more vehicles 
could be provided 

The road makes a sharp turn 2 Vi miles southwest of Paedun-ni to 
climb through Taedabok Pass, a defile about 1,000 yards long. Just 
beyond, at the village of Pugok, a sharp turn to the left skirts the base 
of a large hill overlooking the entire length of the pass. 

The first jeep of the reconnaissance detachment was almost abreast of 
Pugok at 1500 when NKPA machincguns opened up from the big hill 
at the bend. Enemy automatic weapons on the high ground above the 
pass raked rhe vehicles filled with Dog Company men. 

As the Marines were taking cover in roadside ditches, a Communist 
antitank gun opened fire from rhe large hill and hit one of the jeeps. The 
reconnaissance troops gradually withdrew from their exposed positions 
and fell back on Zimmer's group. After sizing up the situation, the Com- 
pany D commander ordered his 1st Platoon to seize the high ground on 
the right side of the road about midway through the pass. No resistance 
was met, so that the Marines set up their weapons quickly and returned 


The Pusati Perimeter 

the Communist fire. Meanwhile the 2d Platoon moved up on the right 
after clearing small enemy groups from the high ground on both sides 
of the road at the entrance to the defile. 

Zimmer had spotted the location of the enemy's antitank gun, and 
Marine 60- mm. fire put an end to rhis nuisance. The effort used up all 
the mortar ammunition, and the Company D commander decided to wait 
in position for Brigade supporting arms. Two tanks atrived at 1630, and 
their 90-mm, guns drove the enemy into hiding. 

While Marine ranks and air were working over the hill, 3/5 reached 
Paedun-ni after being relieved of its final security mission in the 
Chindong-ni area. Murray ordered Taplett to be ptepated to pass 
thtough 2/5 and continue the attack. 

The 3d Battalion reached the entrance ro Taedabok Pass in trucks 
shortly after the arrival of the 2d Battalion troops who had followed 
their motorized column on foot. Some confusion resulted on the natrow 
road after Murray's arrival while he waited to confer with Taplett. 
Unable to find Roise, the two officers climbed the high ground on the 
left. From this vantage point they could see Kosong, 5 miles away. The 
regimental commander ordered Taplett to pass through 2/5 immediately 
and continue the attack. 

Company G had already crossed the line of depatture and was deploy- 
ing to assault the hill at the toad bend when Murray located Roise in 
Zimmer's area to the right of the road. The exact location of enemy 
positions remained in some doubt. In order to clear up rhe uncertainty, 
Major McMedy volunteered to lead out a patrol. About 1730, therefore, 
Roise's S/3 took off in a jeep with a radio opetatot and a fire team from 
Dog Company. 

By this time, Taplett had a fairly accurare pictute of the situation in 
mind. From his OP on the high ground ro rhe left of the road, he saw 
that McNeely was headed for danger. The 3/5 commander radioed Bohn 
ro stop the jeep, but it was too late. McNeely and his men vanished from 
sight around the bend whete the road skitted the large hill, and the 
Marines heard a furious clatter of machinegun and small arms fire. 

The fate of the patrol remained in doubt as Company G moved out to 
the attack, with First Lieutenant Jack Westerman's platoon in the lead. 
Communist fire held up the advance, but Bohn sent Second Lieutenant 
Edward F. Duncan's platoon on a sweeping envelopment to the right 
which outflanked the enemy and drove him from rhe high ground. 
Westerman was then abie to reach the ctest with his platoon. From this 


Advance to Kosong 


his five men were stretched our motionless on the ground beneath and 
behind the vehicle. 

At great risk, Wesrerman made a dash to the jeep and brought back 
McNeely, mortally wounded. Enemy fire prevented further rescues, but 
it was ascertained that 3 men had been killed outrighr and 2 severely 
wounded. These survivors could only continue to take cover behind the 
wrecked vehicle until 3/5 troops advanced. 

When Company G jumped off again, the men were held up by two 
concealed machineguns at the far end of the road bend. Taplett com- 
mitted How Company on the left side of the MSR, and Fegan seized the 
hill opposite Bonn's position. It was almost dark before the Marines 
could silence the 2 enemy machineguns around rhe bend, and at 2015 
Murray ordered 3/5 ro secure for the nighr and defend the 2 hills already 
occupied. On the premise that the enemy had prepared an ambush for 
rescue parties approaching the wrecked jeep, it was decided to wait until 
morning to bring back the wounded men. 

The Seizure of Kosong 

The night passed quietly except for scattered rifle fire along the 3d 
Battalion's 700-yard front To carry out General Craig's orders for 11 
August, the two rifle companies prepared to continue the attack on 
Kosong at first light. 42 

The enemy had different plans. At the crack of dawn a small force 
of Norrh Koreans emerged from the fog and charged recklessly into 
Company G's front. There was a furious hand-to-hand clash as the 
attackers converged on Bohn's OP in the center of the line. The com- 
pany commander directed the defense amid grenade explosions, one of 
which drove a fragment into his shoulder. Ar his side Sraff Sergeant 
Charles F, Kurtz, Jr., called down effective 60-mm. mortar fire on the 
Reds while throwing grenades and ducking submachincgun bursts. 

The melee ended after a half hour with Company G driving rhe 
battered remnanrs of the NKPA platoon back down the hill Despite his 
wound, Bohn stayed with his; company and reorganized it for the attack 
on Kosong. He also had the ..arisfacrion of overseeing rhe evacuation of 
the rwo wounded survivors of McNeely's ill-fated patrol. 

41 This section is derived from: Anntx How; Craig, 12 Jan 54; Fegan and Bohn, 17 Apr 
54 (with comments by LtCol R. D. TaMect).- 


The Pman Perimeter 

At 0800, the Brigade moved out in a route column, with 3/5 as the 
advance guard and Company G in the role of advance party. Bohn's 
point consisted of Second Lieutenant John D. Counsel man's 3d Platoon, 
whose leading element, under Corporal Raymond Giaquinto, was on the 
MSR with flank guards slightly withheld on each side. 

The Brigade column moved swiftly. About a mile beyond the line of 
departure, Giaquinto braked his roadbound unit in the face of doubtful 
ground ahead. Simultaneously, the flank guards surged forward and 
wrapped around the suspected area. Then Giaquinto 's force raced down 
the road, and the 3 prongs of the point converged on an enemy machine- 
gun emplacement, killing the 5 occupants before they could fire a shot. 

With Bohn calling the shots and Giaquinto setting the pace, the point 
swept aside three more enemy positions along the route. The effective 
combination of limited frontal attacks and envelopments brought the 
head of the column to the bridge north of Kosong at 1000, Here Com- 
pany H passed through on the road and pushed into the town. 

Using 1 rifle platoon and 2 tanks, Fegan easily cleared northern 
Kosong of light resistance. Then he gradually wheeled his fotce to the 
right, tracing the road to Sachon. His other two platoons continued 
southward with the mission of seizing a high hill below Simam-dong. 

General Craig reached Kosong by jeep just as Taplett was setting up 
his CP in a schoolyard north of the town. A small group of enemy 
snipers suddenly opened up from positions in and around the school- 
house, and the Brigade commander observed sniper teams of 3/5 's head- 
quarters spring into action and destroy the Norrh Koreans. 

Shortly after Fegan entered Kosong, Bohn swung his company to rhe 
southwest from above the town, drove through rhe western suburbs and 
launched an attack against Hill 88 below the Sachon road. Approaching 
the hill, Company G susrained a few casualties while eliminating a stub- 
born Communist pocket in the low ground on its right flank. 

MAG-33 preceded the attack on Hill 88 with a thundering air strike 
on 100 enemy entrenched along the crest. This attack coupled with a 
thorough shelling by 1/11, shattered the Reds' will to fighr, and Com- 
pany G found only evidence of a hasty flight when it reached the summit 
at 1330. 

General Craig ordered Taplett to cancel all further missions around 
the captured town and attack toward Sachon immediately. Company G 
was quickly tecallcd from Hill 88; the high ground above Sunam-dong 
was ignored, and Fegan assembled his unit at the western edge of 
Kosong preparatory to leading the attack. 

Advance to Kosong 


Just as Company H was reforming, a jeep ambulance driven by Corps- 
man William H. Anderson raced into the area to pick up casualties from 
Bonn's earlier skirmish below Hill 88, Passing through Fcgan's troops, 
the vehicle failed to make the turn southward and sped toward Sachon. 
Two enemy antitank guns lying in wait west of Kosong blasted the jeep 
as it rounded a bend, killing Anderson and spilling two passengers out 
of the wrecked vehicle, 

Fegan led two M-26 tanks to the bend, and Technical Sergeant 
Johnnie C. Cottrell quickly destroyed the North Korean position. Three 
rounds from his 90-mm. gun wiped out the last NKPA opposition in the 
area, and the 3d Battalion moved out for the drive on Sachon. 


Fight on Two Fronts 

The Kosong Turkey Shoot— The Changchon Ambush— Marines 
Ordered to New Sector— Attack of 3/5 to the Rear— Enemy Dawn 
Attack at Changchon— Breaking Off Action 

Marine air AND artillery had a field day on 11 August 1950 that 
the rifle companies will never forget. The occasion was known 
as "the Kosong Turkey Shoot," and ir was a victory won entirely by 
supporting arms. 

It happened just as 3/5 was about to enter Kosong. As a preliminary, 
1/11 was called upon just before noon for preparatory fires. Shells from 
the 105's landed in the town, sending up geysers of nibble in the bright 
sunlight. Then, suddenly, the Marine artillery flushed out a column of 
enemy vehicles making a frantic dash for safety. 

This flight explains the light resistance which the Marine infantry met 
in Kosong. But the enemy could hardly have chosen a less propitious 
moment, for he had merely escaped from the frying pan into the fire. 
Overhead, ro his sorrow, was a division of VMF-323 planes from the 
Badoeng Strait, which the forward TACP had sent on a search and attack 
mission just beyond the town.' Major Lund and his pilots were thus 
presented with a fabulous target of opportunity— an estimated 100 
vehicles of the NKPA 83d Motorcycle Regiment, including jeeps, 
mororcycles and troop-carrying trucks. 1 

The Kosong Turkey Shoot 

The Corsairs came screaming down in low-ievel strafing runs the entite 
length of the column for the purpose of bringing it to a halt. Vehicles 

1 VMF-323 SAR, 3 Aug-6 Sep 50. 

1 Estimates as to the number of vehicles vary widely. Apparently no exact count was ever 



The Bam Perimeter 

crashed into one another or piled up in the ditch while enemy troops 
scrambled out for cover. The Soviet-made jeeps and motorcycles were 
now sitting ducks for F4U's which worked over individual targets with 
rocket or 20-mm. fire. After the Marine planes had set about 40 vehicles 
on fire, they were relieved by another flight of VMF-323 machines and 
Air Force F-51's which added the finishing touches to the picture of 

Under the circumstances the enemy put up a creditable fight. Lund 
and his low-flying pilots encountered fierce small arms and automatic 
weapons fire. Two of the four Corsairs in rhe first flight were badly 
damaged and had to try for emergency landings. Lieutenant Doyle Cole 
ditched into the bay just as General Craig was making a tour of inspec- 
tion by helicopter; and the Brigade commander operated the hoist which 
pulled the dripping flier up to safety. 

Captain Vivian Moses was not so fortunate. While putting his 
crippled plane down in enemy territory, he was thrown unconscious 
from the cockpit and drowned in a rice paddy a few minutes before a 
VMO-6 helicopter arrived. Only the day before, rhis gallant Marine 
pilot had been rescued by helicopter, after being shot down behind the 
NKPA lines, and flown back unhurt to his carrier. Despire rhis experi- 
ence, Captain Moses volunteered for duty on 11 August, when he 
became the first dearh casualty of MAG-33. 

Several hours later, after securing Kosong and resuming the attack 
toward Sachon, the Marine ground forces caught up with the scene of 
chaos left by the F4U's. Among the twisted and charred vehicles were 
some that the enemy had abandoned in perfect condition. Tolerant 
NCO's relaxed discipline for a moment while their men tried out the 
motorcycles with sidecars and the sleek, black Sovier jeeps, most of 
which had gone into the attack practically new. Almost identical in 
design to American jeeps, these vehicles were found to be powered by 
familiar Ford-type engines— a throwback to United States Lend Lease to 
Russia in World War II. 

Generals Craig and Cushman surveyed the wreckage from a helicopter 
next day. This srrikc, however, was only one of the more dramatic exam- 
ples of the Brigade air-ground team in action. MAG-33 aircraft were 
consrantly orbiring on station over rhe front line as the ground forces 
advanced. Flown by infantry- trained pilots briefed on the local ground 

1 Ernest Giusri, "Marine Air Over the Pusan Perimeter," Marine Corps Gazette, }6, No. 
5:20-21 (May 52). 

Fight on Two Ih-tmts 

situation, the Corsairs were available for employment on short notice. 
It was a simple and flexible system; and the fact that VMF-214 and 
VMF-323 were based on the two carriers meant that they could arrive on 
station with more fuel and ordnance for strikes as compared to japan- 
based squadrons.*' 

Overall control of tactical air operations in Korea was exercised by 
the Fifth Air Force. Marine aviation units, as components of an inte- 
grated Fleet Marine Force, operated in support of the Brigade as their 
highest priority, and in support of other UN forces as a lower priority. 
After checking in with Fifth AF TACC at the Joint Operations Center 
(JOC), Marine aviation units came under Marine operational control 
when supporting Brigade ground forces. When providing tactical air 
suppott for other UN forces, Marine air units operated undet the Air 
Force-Army system for tactical air support. 

The Btigade control otganization included 3 battalion TACP's and 1 
tegimental TACP, each consisting of an officer and 6 enlisted men, and 
each equipped with a radio jeep, portable radios and remoting equip- 
ment. MAG-33 provided a Brigade control agency consisting of the Air 
Support Section of MTACS-2. Other Brigade unirs associated with 
control of aircraft were: 

(1) The Air Section of the Brigade Staff, consisting of the Brigade Air 
officer and six enlisted men responsible for planning as well as tactical 
control and coordination of supporting aircraft; 

(2) The Brigade observation section, consisting of the tactical ait 
observer, three gunnety observers, and the OY and rotaty-wing aircraft 

Carrier-based Marine aviation units maintained a TAC and one or 
more flights of aircraft on station during daylighr hours. Night heckler 
and intrudet missions of VMF(N)-513 from Itazuke reported to the 
Fifth AF TACC and were routed by that agency to the Air Support Sec- 
tion (MTACS-2) with the Brigade. During the early Brigade operations, 
with the Air Force TACC located at Tacgu, delays of incoming flights 
reporting to JOC were caused by overloaded communications nets. An 
improvement resulted when such flights by-passed JOC and reported 
directly to the Air Support Section of Brigade. And when JOC moved 
back to Pusan, improved communications resulted in incoming flights 
reporting first to JOC again. 

''This summary of tactical air operations is derived from MCBS. 1-IV-B, 9-14; Muj 
George }. King, interv with author, n. d, 



The Pusan Perimeter 

The Brigade control agency (Air Support Section) made use of the 
following communications for the control of tactical air operations: 

(1) TAR net connecting battalion TACP's, the regimental TACP, and 
the Air Support Section, and monitored by the Brigade Air Section. 
This was an HF net. 

(2) TAD net connecting above-named agencies as well as TAG flights 
of support aircraft and on occasion the TAO. This was a VHF net of 
four frequencies used to brief and control aircraft reporting for support 

(3) TAO net connecting observation aircraft, the Brigade CP {Air 
Section) and the Air Support Section. This was an HF net. 

(4) An administrative (HF) net connecting the Air Support Section 
and the carriers Sicily and Badoeng Strait. 

The workings of the control organization of the Brigade air-ground 
team in the Pusan Perimeter have been described as follows in the survey 
of the Marine Corps Board Study: 

"Battalion TACP's made requests for air support missions direct by TAR net to 
the Air Support Section. The regimental TACP and Brigade Air Section monitored 
this net. The Btigade control agency having received a tequest for a mission, con- 
tacted the TACand the Flight Leader (PL) of the aircraft orbiting on station await- 
ing a mission. The TAC and the FL were then directed to the vicinity of the TACP 
from whom the request had originated. 

"The TACP controlled the execution of the mission in accordance with the wishes 
of the battalion commander. The TACP gave the location of the target to the TAC. 
The la net designated the target to the FL and his flight of supporting aircraft. The 
unit being supported marked its front lines. The TAC directed the attacking aircraft 
in making attacks on the target. His directions related to the technique of attacking 
specific targets with aircraft. Control of the attack was exercised by the ground unit 
being supported. 

"In many instances the TAC or the TAO would locate targets not yet located by 
ground units. This was often done in response to a request from ground units. Both 
the TAC and TAO located targets beyond the vision of ground units, and both were 
capable of, and did, designate these tatgets to flights of supporting aircraft and 
directed attacks on such targets, when requested to do so by ground units. Condi- 
tions favored delegating control to forward TACP's beyond convenient VHF tange 
between them and the Brigade (Air Support Section). Brigade attack formations fre- 
quently consisted of battalions in column. The forward battalion was ftce to employ 
air support at a moment's notice." 

This was the situation on the afternoon of 11 August 1950 as rhe 3d 
Battalion of rhe 5rh Marines attacked toward Sachon, followed by 2/5 
in trace. Overhead a flight of VMF-323 Corsairs orbited on station, and 

Fight on Two Fronts 


OY observers reported the enemy to be pulling back rapidly toward 

How Company led the Marine attack, with lead tanks employing 
reconnaissance by fire. At 1800, after the column had covered several 
miles, a lone enemy machinegun in a valley on the left held up the ad- 
vance by wounding three Marines. By the time the tanks silenced the 
weapon with .50-caliber fire, it was decided to halt. Taplett deployed his 
battalion on two hills north of the road, and the infantrymen settled 
down for a quiet night. 

The gravel crunchers could thank air and other supporting arms for 
an impressive demonstration of power that day. There was even the sug- 
gestion of an amphibious operation in the Brigade advance, for an LST 
followed the column and anchored near the fishing village of Tanghong- 
ni aftet the securing of Kosong. 

This was LST QOll9, a supply ship manned by Team No. 1 of Major 
William L. Batchelor's Company A, 1st Shore Party Battalion. Team 
No, 2 set up forward dumps along the MSR as the infantry advanced, 
while No. 3 unloaded supplies and equipment at the Masan railhead. 
Shore Party personnel also assisted in salvage operations, which were 
conducted mainly at Changwon. 1 

LST QOll9 was not only the workhorse of normal Shore Party mis- 
sions; it served also as an improvised hospital ship. For the Medical Sec- 
tion and Company C, 1st Medical Battalion, had an extra responsibility 
these sweltering days in caring for victims of heat prostration as well as 
the wounded. Thus it may have set some sort of a record when casualties 
were evacuated at one time by land, sea and air— moror ambulance, LST 
and helicopter. 

The Changchon Ambush 

At sundown on 11 August, as Taplett's battalion dug in for the night on 
the road to Sachon, the enemy seemed to be -disorganized if not actually 
demoralized. For the first time since the invasion began, a sustained 
Eighth Army counterattack had not only stopped the Red Korean 
steamroller but sent it into reverse. 

With the Marines a day's march from Sachon, the Army 5th RCT was 
running a dead heat on the shorter Chinju route to the north, where 

Annex Mike to Brig SAR. 

144 The Puum Perimeter 

opposition had been light the last 2 days. It might even have appeared 
on the evening of the 11th that the combined operation had turned into 
a friendly rivalry between two outfits racing toward their final objective 
by parallel roads. But any such assumption would have been premature, 
as General Craig and his staff well realized. They looked for further re- 
sistance and were not disillusioned. Within the next 48 hours, in fact, 
Craig's men were destined to carry out one of the most astonishing oper- 
ations in the history of the Marine Corps— simulraneous BLT attacks in 
opposite ditections on two fronts 25 miles apart. 

There was no hint of any such development at 0630 on the morning 
of 12 August, when the 1st Battalion of the 5th Marines passed through 
the 3d Battalion with a mission of seizing Sachon. If anything, the front 
was too quiet to suit veteran NCO's, who suspected the enemy of being 
up to no good. The column moved out behind a 15 -man detachment of 
Recon Company acting as the point under the command of Captain 
Kenneth J. Houghton. Next came Baker Company with the 1st, 2d, and 
3d Platoons in that order. Two Marine tanks were sandwiched in be- 
tween the 1st and 2d Platoons, and three more M-26's brought up the 
rear of Captain Tobin's company, followed by the main body of the 

No opposition awaited the column. This unnatural calm continued 
for 4'/2 hours as the Marines advanced about 11 miles. At noon, with 
Sachon only 4 miles away, Houghton and the point rounded a bend into 
the thatched-hut hamlet of Changchon. The first enemy soldiers of the 
day were sighted when two skulking figures took cover. Several Marines 
opened fire, and in reply the hills on both sides of the road erupted into 

The enemy had obviously planned to allow the entire column to come 
within range. But the trap was sprung prematurely as NKPA machine- 
guns blazed away from the high ground in front and on both flanks. 
Captain Tobin immediately sent the 1st Platoon to the aid of the point. 
First Lieutenant Hugh C Schryver led his men forward along the road- 
side ditches, and at the cost of three casualties they reinforced the thin 
line of Recon troops returning the enemy's fire. 

Next, the company commander ordered First Lieutenant David S. 
Taylor's 2d Platoon to move up behind three Marine tanks. The M-26's 
were unable to maneuver off the road because of the danger of bogging 

* This section is derived from: Brig SAR, 5rh Marines, 1st Bn rpt; Maj John L, Tobin, 
ltr to author, 26 Apr 54 (Tobin, 26 Apr 54); Maj John R. Stevens, Itr to author, 1 1 Jan 54; 
and T/Sgt F, J. Lischeski, ltr to author, 14 Jan 54. 

MAG ; / 


/V J 250' 




^"".,,301 ? 


12 AUGUST 1950 

key : 





— ggg. 



The Pusan 

down in rice paddies, but as mobile fortresses they added to Marine fire 

Tobin's whole company became more or less pinned down when the 
3d Platoon and headquarters, farther back on the road, received auto- 
matic weapons fire from Hill 250 on the right. Newton immediately 
requested the battalion air controller, First Lieutenant James W. Smith, 
to call for a strike in this area. This was the only supporting arm avail- 
able at the moment, since the mortar and artillery crews were just setting 
up their weapons in hastily selected positions. 

After the Corsairs worked over Hill 250, Tobin ordered Second Lieu- 
rcnant David R. Cowling's 3d Platoon to attack the high ground. A 
rifle platoon and machinegun section had been sent forward from Able 
Company by the battalion commander, and Newton gave these 
reinforcements the mission of seizing Hill 301, also on the right side 
of the road. 

As Cowling's men were crossing the open rice paddy, the Marine tank 
guns and mortars added their fires to the air strike. But enough enemy 
machineguns survived, to catch the 3d Platoon in a crossfire which forced 
it to fall back with I man killed and 4 wounded. The Able Company 
contingent occupied Hill 301 meanwhile without meeting any resistance. 

During the coutse of these actions, the FAC reported to Newton that 
2 of the Corsairs overhead had 5 minutes of time left. The battalion 
commander directed that they search for targets of opportunity along 
the road leading from Changchon to Sachon. The result was a repetition 
on a small scale of the Kosong turkey shoot, for the Marine planes sur- 
prised a little column of enemy vehicles and personnel. After the Cor- 
sairs unloaded their remaining ordnance, the road was strewn with 
twisted and burning vehicles. 

The 3d Platoon fell back on Hill 301 as Newton ordered Captain 
John R. Stevens to secure the nearby high ground on the right side of the 
road with the rest of his Able Company troops. This left Hill 250 as the 
center of enemy resistance on the right. A total of 113 Marine mortar 
rounds were delivered on these positions, followed by a second air strike. 
The concentration of fire finally silenced the enemy's remaining ma- 
chineguns, and the Baker Company right flank was secured. 

The other two Baker Company platoons and Houghton's men had 
their hands full meanwhile on the left flank. They kept up a brisk fire 
fight from the roadside ditches until the Marine artillery took charge of 
the situation. One enemy position after anothct was knocked out in this 
quarter as Newton called for three more air strikes. These preparatory 

Fight on Two Fronts 147 

fires enabled the 1st and 2d Platoons to attack on the left after a laborious 
crossing of an intervening rice paddy. 

The Marines proceeded to clean up the remaining NKPA positions 
methodically. A climax was reached when Lieutenant Taylor spotted an 
enemy group approaching the crest of Hill 202 from the reverse slope. 
He sent Technical Sergeant F. J. Lischeski with a squad to prepare a 
welcome. The veteran NCO coolly formed a line along the ridge and 
directed his men to wait until the enemy came within 75 feet before 
opening fire. 

It would be hard to find a more striking example of Marine infantry 
firepower. Of the 39 men in the NKPA group, all were killed outright 
in a matter of seconds except a single officer. This survivor was so badly 
wounded that he died on the way to the regimental CP. 

The fight had lasted all afternoon, and darkness fell before Company 
B could complete its movement to the high ground on the left side of 
the road and set up a perimeter of defense. It was estimated that an 
enemy company was operating in the area, covering the rerrcat of sorely 
battered elements of the NKPA 6th Infantry Division and 83d Motor- 
cycle Regiment. 

Marine losses were 3 killed and 1 3 wounded. After the securing of the 
high ground to the right, casualties were evacuated by road on the lee 
side of slowly moving tanks which provided shelter from enemy fire on 
the left. 

Marines Ordered to New Sector 

The Marines of 1/5 anticipated that the next day's advance would take 
them to Sachon. At midnight on 12 August, however, Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Newton received orders from the regimental commander to form the 
battalion on the road at 0630 in preparation for a lift by trucks to another 
secror, where the Marines were to reinforce Army units. 

While Newton's men were fighting at Changchon, the Brigade com- 
mander had come up against a most unusual command situation. It 
began late on the morning of the 12th, when General Craig received 
orders from CG Task Force Kean, directing him to move a reinforced 
Marine rifle battalion back to Chindong-ni. General Kean emphasized 
that the shift be made without delay. Infiltrating enemy forces had pene- 
trated far back in the rear to overrun positions of Battery C, 555th 
("Triple Nickel") Field Artillery Battalion and Headquarters and Able 
Batteries, 90th Field Artillery Battalion, supporting the 25th Division. 


The Pman Perimeter 

The MSR being endangered, Marine reinforcements were urgently 
needed for a counterattack. 7 

At 0800 that morning Craig had set up his CP at Kosong. It was his 
custom to keep a terse and factual record of events from day to day, and 
the following chronological account is derived from entries in the 
Brigade commander's field notebook: 

"1130— Received telephonic orders from CG 25th Div. stating that enemy was at- 
tacking in force across our MSR near Chindong-ni. He directed that 1 send 
one reinforced battalion to rear at once to give assistance to 24th Infantry en- 
gaged in that area and to recapture artillery pieces. 

"1200 — Proceeded by helicopter to CP 5th Marines to give necessary instructions. 
Made two landings cn route to gather trucks for troop lift. 

"1300— The reinforced 3d Bn., 5th Marines, now on way to Chindong-ni area. 

"1330— Sent my G-3, LtCol Stewart, and LtCol Taplett, CO of 3/5, by helicopter to 
bridge indicated by CG 25 th Div. to reconnoiter and formulate plans prior to 
arrival of battalion. Marines to operate directly under 25th Division for this 

"1400— We are out on a limb with only two battalions left and Sachon still to take. 
Went to leading elements to check. They were engaged in a heavy fire fight 
at an attempted ambush position. Air brought to bear and helped, plus artil- 
lery. Enemy positions taken by 1/5, which dug in on high ground while 2/5 
was disposed to protect rest of Brigade column. 

"1730— Returned to Brigade CP at Kosong and received orders to proceed via heli- 
copter to Masan to confer with CG 25th Division, 

"1815— On flight to Masan I detoured to Chindong-ni area to make sure by air ob- 
servation that 3/5 had arrived and apparently was not having any trouble. 

"1830— Arrived Masan and was directed by General Kean to commence a tactical 
withdrawal frorh Sachon. 

"1945— Returned by helicopter to my Kosong CP in early darkness and issued 
necessary orders." 

The preparations for withdrawal lowered the spirits of Marines who 
believed that they had broken the back of enemy resistance in the Sachon 
area. This reaction may even be noted in the first paragraph of the 
Brigade withdrawal order: 

"1. General Situation. Following Brigade rapid advance from Chindong-ni to 
Sachon in which this Brigade attacked, overcame, and pursued the enemy, the 25rh 
Infantry Division has directed the withdrawal of this Brigade in order to hold a de- 
fensive position and mop up enemy resistance in the zone of action of elements of 
the 25 th Division." 


7 This section is derived from: Craig, 18 May 5 and 12 Jan 54; Murray, 14 Jan 54; and 
Brig SAR, 5th Marines, 1st Bn and 3d Bn rpts. 

/ „y ,/"= K*l % i > i 


}Q5713 O-F-55 11 


The Pusan Perimeter 

It would later be known that the basic reason for the Brigade with- 
drawal was a decision by the Eighth Army command and staff. The 
enemy had crossed the river Naktong, the last natural barrier of the 
Pusan Perimeter, and this emergency had caused the Marines to be 
pulled back in readiness for a counterattack in the Naktong bulge. 

Attack of '3/5 to the Rear 

The foregoing chronology makes it evident that General Craig could 
never have handled this situation in an afternoon without helicopter 
transportation. Jeeps could not have reached so many destinations over 
narrow, twisting roads choked with traffic; and fixed-wing planes, even 
the adaptable OY's, could not have landed wherever the Brigade com- 
mander willed. Marine helicopters set a good many precedents in Korea, 
and the events of 12 August 1950 established the usefulness of these 
versatile machines for command and staff flights. 

Early that afternoon, as Craig had directed, Stewart and Taplctt flew 
back to the Chindong-ni area for reconnaissance and planning prior to 
the arrival of 3/5. The Brigade commander had been able to give them 
very little initial information. About 2,000 to 2,500 enemy had infiltrated 
to the vicinity, according to Army estimates. The two Marine officers 
were instructed to fly to a bridge over a dry stream bed, where they 
would be met and briefed by a 25th Division liaison officer awaiting 
them in a jeep with a red air panel on the hood. 8 

Stewart and Taplett found the bridge, though no jeep was in sight. 
After landing in the stream bed, they discovered a camouflaged Army 
light tank; but the officers of the armored company could not offer any 

A number of wire lines lay in the roadside ditch, and the Marine offi- 
cers checked them, one by one. At length, by a process of trial and error, 
they found a line leading to the 25th Division CP and talked to the G-3. 
He instructed them to "look the situation over" and decide upon a 
course of action to eliminate enemy activity in the area and provide 
security for the remaining artillery unit— a battery of the 159th Field 
Artillery Battalion which had been attached to the 555th. Then the 
Marine officers were to report to General Barth, ADC of the 25th Divi- 
sion, upon his arrival in the area to take the overall command. 

"This section is derived from LtCol Robert D. Taplett's detailed statement to Marine 
Corps Evaluation Board, n, d. 

Fight on Two Fronts 


Ever since the jump-off of 7 August, the operations of Task Force 
Kean had been distinguished for informality. Oral orders were the rule 
rather than exception, with unusual latitude of decision being permitted 
to officers in the field. After their telephone conversation, Stewart and 
Taplett made a helicopter reconnaissance of the area, followed by a flight 
back over the MSR to locate 3/5. Upon their return, they encountered 
Colonel John Daly, USA, CO of the 555th Field Artillery Battalion. 
Battery C of that unit, he informed them, had been surprised the night 
before, along with two batteries of the 90th, and completely ovetrun 
about 3,000 yards up the srream bed. They were destroyed as a fighting 
force, though scattered survivors and wounded men remained in the 
area. Daly briefed rhe Marine officers as to the location of enemy forces; 
and they decided to seize two key ridges commanding the MSR, which 
tan parallel to rhe stream bed. The troops of 3/5 were just then piling 
out of the trucks at the debarkation point, and Taplett ordered them to 
attack without waiting for Barrh, since it would soon be dark. 

These Marines, contrary to standing operating procedure, had turned 
their backs on the roar of battle at Changchon early that afternoon and 
tidden away in the opposite direcrion. Then, to complete the mystery, 
they traveled 25 miles ro rhe rear to assault a ridge which was supposedly 
secured. How Company jumped off with George following in trace. 
Colonel Daly provided a 15-minute artillery preparation, though he had 
no orders, and Taplett's FAC managed to summon a flight of Corsairs 
with partial loads aboard, including napalm. No one had any idea of the 
enemy's strength, and after receiving some fire from the ridge, Captain 
Fegan picked the locations for an air strike. How Company moved in 
rapidly afterwards againsr such light resistance that the Matines seized 
the first position without a single casualty. Only one casualty was in- 
flicted upon the enemy, who apparently had put up a teatguard fight 
while withdrawing. 

At 1900, when Genetal Barth arrived, he asked when the Marine bat- 
talion would be ready to attack. Taplett replied that he already had one 
company on the fitst objective, and the 25th Division ADC congratu- 
lated the Marines on their promptness. He approved Taplett's course of 
action and gave his sanction for the seizure of the rest of the dominating 
nigh ground the following morning. 

Again the Marines received the most cordial cooperation from the 
Army, General Barth ordered several light tanks and three M-44 ar- 
niored personnel carriers to support the attack at 0700 on 13 August. 
The same Army artillery battery was assigned to the opetation, and 


The Pitsan Perimeter 

Battery C of the 11th Marines took part after arriving the night before. 
As it proved, the infantry needed little assistance to seize the remaining 
objectives against negligible resistance. By 1000 the Marine rifle com- 
panies were in full possession of the two commanding ridgelines. No 
casualties were suffered or inflicted. 

Despite the lack of opposition, the enemy had not pulled out of the 
area. When Lieutenant Colonel Murray made a helicopter flight to drop 
a message to survivors of the 555th, his helicopter was ambushed in a 
defile by NKPA marksmen concealed on both sides. Only the pilot's 
skillful maneuvering got them out safely, and they were unable to com- 
plete their mission. 

A plan for the Marines to advance to the west across the valley floor 
while the Army 5th RCT attacked rearward to meet them was consid- 
ered by the 25th Division, Taplert's battalion would have been accom- 
panied by 2/5, then on the way to theChindong-ni area. But this scheme 
of maneuver was canceled, and the 2d Battalion of the 5 th RCT relieved 
3/5 on 14 August. By that time, as will be related later, other elements 
of the Brigade were on the way to an assembly area at Miryang in prep- 
aration for an operation in another sector. 

At least the attack by 3/5 enabled elements of the 25th Division to 
rescue survivors of the artillery batteries who straggled back. Both Tap- 
lett and Stewart believed that enemy numbers in the area had been much 
smaller than the original Army estimate of 2,000 to 2,500 men. The 3/5 
commander wanted to complete his mission by attacking to recover the 
howitzers and other lost equipment while the opportunity still existed. 
But he was unable to accomplish t-his aim because of orders for Brigade 
withdrawal, and the artillery pieces were never recaprurcd. Air strikes 
were called to destroy them after the relief of the Marine battalion, and 
the area itself was abandoned a few days later when 25th Division units 
fell back before renewed NKPA attacks. 

Enemy Dawn Attack at Changchon 

On the other Marine front, 25 miles distant, 1/5 had a return engage- 
ment before dawn on 13 August with the enemy in the Changchon area. 
Company commanders had received orders rhe night before to alert their 
units at 0400 for the withdtawal. General Craig's Op Order 10-50 was a 
complete and well planned field order, despite the need for haste; but the 

Fight, on Two Fronts 153 

enemy interrupted with ;i surprise arrack launched from concealed 
posirions occupied under cover of darkness.'' 

Baker Company's defense serup for rhe nighr on Hill 202 consisted of 
the 3d, lsr, and 2d Plaroons tied in from left to righr in that order. The 
action began at 0450 with enemy automatic weapons fire. Marine 60-mm. 
mortar illuminating shells revealed an NKPA infiltration on the right in 
the area of rhe 2d Platoon. 

This effort soon proved to be a diversionary attack for the purpose of 
masking the main blow. At 0455 3 enemy flares went up, 2 red and L 
green. They were the signal for an assault on rhe left flank at the other 
end of the Baker Company position. The enemy, as a wounded Marine 
NCO put it afterwards, was "righr on top of the 3d Platoon in a few 
seconds" with grenades and burp guns." 1 

This was one of the occasions when the Marines were painfully 
reminded that rhe NKPA 6th Division had been made up originally of 
veterans of the Chinese civil war, condi tioned by experience for the rigors 
of night fighting. Marine securiry had not been at fault, yet the enemy 
had managed to creep forward in uncanny silence to positions within 
grenade- rh rowing distance. 

In an instant the Marine position was overrun, with the machinegun 
section being wiped out except for two men. Communication troubles 
added ro the confusion. Platoon radios had been rendered inoperarive by 
mud and water while crossing rice paddies, and telephone wires were 
believed to have been cut. Two runners were killed during Tobin's 
efforts to maintain contact with the hard pressed troops on rhe left 
flank. A third runner got through with orders for the remnants of the 
platoon to fall back within the perimeter of the adjacent 1st Platoon. 

The troubles of Baker Company were compounded at this stage when 
the enemy turned two of the Marines' own machineguns againsr them. 

During the next hour the fight became a slugging match. When the 
first gray light of dawn permitted some visibility, Baker Company 3.5" 
rocket launchers knocked out the two Marine machineguns being fired 
by rhe enemy. The left flank was holding well when the 60-mm. mortars 
ran out of ammunition. To make matters worse, the artillery FO's radio 
took destructive hits from machinegun fire jusr as the enemy changed 
the direcrion of his attack. Now his main effort was being channeled up 
the draw between the 1st and 2d Platoons for the obvious purpose of 

Craig. 12 (an 54. 
'Tobin, of 26 Apr *>A. 

Fight on Two Fronts 155 

splitting the company and beating it in detail. The attackers had been 
bled white by casualties, however, and Tobin's men had little difficulty 
in beating off the new assault. 

Breaking Off Action 

Battalion orders were received through Able Company to disengage at 
0630 and pull down from the high ground to the trucking point at New- 
ton's CP. Tobin was now depending on Company A radios for 4.2" and 
81-mm. mortar support which slowed up enemy efforts. As his first 
move toward breaking off acrion, he ordered his id and 1st Platoons to 
withdraw into the perimeter of the 2d." 

By this time the enemy had fallen back toward the lower levels of Hill 
202. Small arms fire had slackened but the Marines still received mortar 

Tobin ordered his executive officer, Captain Francis I. Fenton, to take 
the wounded across the rice paddies to the road with the 3d Platoon and 
Headquarters troops. The company commander remained on the hill to 
cover this movement with the other two platoons. After Fenton got well 
underway, Tobin ordered the 2d Platoon down to the road. Then, a 
squad at a time, the remaining Marines disengaged; and the Baker Com- 
pany commander came off Hill 202 with the last squad at 0815. The en- 
tire movement had been accomplished with precision, and a final air 
strike kept the enemy quiet at the climax. 

Considering the fury of the fighting on Hill 202, a Marine casual ty list 
of 12 KIA, 18 WIA, and 8 MIA was not as large as might have been 
expected. The idea of men missing in action is always disturbing to Ma- 
rine officers, but it was considered a moral certainty that the eight casu- 
alties of this type were killed when the enemy overran the machinegun 
section on the Baker Company left flank. 12 Before leaving Hill 202, Cap- 
tain Tobin asked permission to lead an attack for the purpose of recover- 
ing the bodies. He believed that he could retake the lost ground in an 
hour, but his request could not be granted at a rime when the battalion 
was belated in carrying out Brigade withdrawal orders. n 

11 Ibid. 

" Seven of these casualties were transferred from tile MIA to the KIA column in Sep- 
tember 1950 after the recovery of their bodies, following enemy withdrawal from the area. 
The eighth continued to be listed as MIA until November 19*>3, when the man was 
assumed to be dead. 

n Ibid. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

It fell to the engineers and armor to cover the rear after the infantry 
pulled out. Midway between Sachon and Kosong, the MSR is joined by 
a road from Samchonpo, a minor seaport on the tip of the peninsula. In 
order to block this approach ro the Brigade's southern flank, General 
Craig ordered the engineers to mine the road. First Lieutenant Nicholas 
A. Canzona was assigned to the task with a detachment of his 1st Pla- 
toon of Able Company, 1st Engineer Battalion. After laying an extensive 
field, this officer discovered to his embarrassment that he had erred in 
arming nearly half of the mines with wrong fuses, so that they were 
harmless. Apparently the moral effect was enough, however, to keep the 
enemy at a distance. 

Lieutenant Hetrick's 3d Platoon of the engineer company brought up 
the Brigade rear on the morning of 13 August to crater roads, lay anti- 
tank minefields and destroy bridges and culverts. Personnel left behind 
for such missions had the privilege of riding the rearmost tank to catch 
up with the column. 14 Thus the withdrawal proceeded systematically 
and was completed without enemy interference. 

11 Annex jig to Brig SAIi, 

Guests of the Brigade— Above, Lieutenant General Lemuel C. Shepherd, jr. 
(center) is shown captured NKPA motorcycle by Brigadier General Craig 
(left) and First Lieutenant N. G. 'Rhodes (right); below, left to right, General 
Craig introduces ROK President Syngman Rhee to Second Lieutenant F, W. 
Muetzel and Technical Sergeant E, L, DeFazio, both wounded three times 
( Marine Corps Photo). 

Marine Chiefs- Above, left to right, Major General Field Harris, CGofthe 
1st Marine Aircraft Wing; Major General Oliver P. Smith, CG of the 1st 
Marine Division, and Brigadier General Thomas J. Cushman, commanding 
MAG-33, meet at a conference in Tokyo; and, below, left to right, Congressman 
Hugh D. Scott, Jr., of Pennsylvania and Henry J, Latham, New York are 
shown captured gun by Brigadier General Edward A. Craig while visiting the 
Naktong front ( Marine Corps Photo ). 

Naktong Fights— Above, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur A. Chidester, Brigade 
G-4, watches while tank 90-mm. gun fires across Observation Hill to knock out- 
enemy machinegun on Qbong-ni Ridge; and, below, Marine infantry advancing 
in second battle of the Naktong as Marine air and artillery hit the enemy up 
ahead ( Marine Corps Photo ). 

Fight for a Foothold— Above, Marines advancing in first battle of the Naktong 
pass casualties on way to the rear; and, below, Private First Class Eugene A. 
Obregon (left) of Los Angeles and Private First Class Ralph J, Summers, of 
Tehama, Calif, in a Marine machinegun position (Marine Corps Photo ). 

Graveyard of Enemy Tanks— Three dead T-34's at the bend where the road 
skirts Hill 125, with Ohong-ni Ridge looming up ahead. Bodies of three 
Marines show it? the foreground ( Marine Corps Photo ). 

Naktong Casualties- Above, wounded Marine, with right leg bandaged, 
passes M-26 tank on his way to the rear; and, below, a stretcher casualty being 
evacuated through rice paddy, with South Korean laborer bringing up the rear 
( Marine Corps Photo ). 

Interlude at (be Bean Patch— Above, Marine truck column on way to Masan 
area after first battle of the Naktong; and, below, Brigade riflemen renew their 
acquaintance with hot food at the Bean Patch ( Marine Corps Photo). 

Between Attacks— Above, tired Marines take a short break during first battle 
o/Naktong, with body ofNKPA soldier in foreground; and, below. Marine 
ivalking wounded are helped back to the rear ( Marine Corps Photo ). 

Supporting Arms— Above, headquarters officers keep careful tab on Marine 
advances in order to co-ordinate fires of supporting weapons; and, below, the 
*05 -mm, howitzers of in I cleaned up, packed and ready for embarkation at 
Pusan (Marine Corps Photo ). 

Objective Secured- Marine patrol moves out from Hill 311, overlooking the 
river Naktong, after Brigade troops take their final objective in the first battle 
of the Naktong ( Marine Corps Photo ), 



The Battle of the Naktong 

Task Force Hill Organized— Planning the Next Operation- 
Reconnaissance of Terrain—Air and Artillery Preparation- 
Company D on Objective— Attack of Company E 

y*HB movement of the Brigade to Miryang was completed by rail, 
X LST and shuttling trucks on 15 August. For the infantry, it meant 
the first hot meal in Korea, and the bivouac area seemed a cool, green 
paradise as compared to the sun-scorched hills the men had been climb- 
ing under fire this past week, A grove of stately trees provided shade; 
and thanks to the frugality of peasants who picked up every twig, the 
grass and moss were like a well-swept carpet. There the troops of the 
Brigade slept under the stars that night and swam in the nearby Miryang 
river. It was a veritable reunion for Leathernecks who swapped tales of 
experiences in the recent combats. 

Being Marines, they realized of course that this was merely an inter- 
lude between operations. The Brigade had passed under operational 
control of the 24 th Infantry Division upon arrival in the Miryang area. 
And on the 15th General Craig reported to General Church's CP to be 
briefed on the situation in the Naktong Bulge, where the next assault 
would be launched. 

The ability of the Russians to cross the widest rivers in World War II, 
using only determination and field expedients, constantly amazed Wehr- 
ttiacbt generals with much better equipment. 1 This know-how seemed to 
have been passed on to the NKPA, judging by the crossings of the Han 
and Kum Rivers early in the Korean conflict. On 6 August 1950, the 
Red Koreans gave a repeat performance when they forced a 1,000-man 
bridgehead across the Naktong river, thus breaching the last natural 
barrier protecting the lifeline from Pusan to Taegu. 

1 U. S. Dept of [ho Army, Russian Comhui Me! hints in World W.trlU DA Pamphlet No. 



The Ptisan Perimeter 

The 24th Infantry Division was unsuccessful in its immediate 
attempts to dislodge the enemy, 2 Wading through chest-deep water hy 
night, pulling crude rafts loaded with vehicles, heavy weapons and sup- 
plies, the North Koreans placed an entire reinforced regiment on the 
east bank by 8 August. Termite tactics during che next 2 days broadened 
their foothold until the Naktong Bulge was overrun by most of the 
NKPA 4th Division. 

Consisting of the 5th, 16th, and 18th Infantry Regiments and strongly 
supported by artillery and armor, the 4th Division was among the most 
distinguished of the major Communist units. With the 107th Tank 
Regiment attached at the outset of the invasion, it had breezed through 
Uijongbu before sharing in the capture of Seoul. On 5 July 1950, the 4th 
became the first NKPA outfit to tangle with the newly arrived United 
States Army forces. Task Force Smith delayed it a few hours near Osan, 
despite the Reds' great advantage in numbers and armor. Later, after 
capturing Nonsan and aiding in the reduction of Taejon, the unit was 
selected to spearhead the assault over the Naktong. 

Task Force Hill Organized 

In an efforr to ping the hole in the Pusan Perimeter, General Walker 
attached the 9th Infantry (2d Infantry Division) commanded by Colonel 
John G. Hill, to the 24th Division. In turn, General Church placed 
Colonel Hill in control of all units in his southern zone and ordered a 
counterstroke against the Naktong Bulge. 

Task Force Hill attacked on 1 1 August but lost its momentum in a 
confused situation which found the enemy attacking at the same time. 
Reinforced to a strength of three infantry regiments, Hill's provisional 
unit again struck out against the bridgehead on 14 and 15 August. After 
encountering a stone wall of resistance, the task force was ordered ro 
cease the attack and defend the ground it occupied east of the enemy 
pocket. 1 

This was the situation as outlined to General Craig at the planning 
conference, and he was also briefed on the topography of the target area. 
The Naktong Bulge west of Yongsan results from a bend in the river 
resembling a stubby thumb pointing westward. Bounded on three sides 

1 Capt R. A. Gugeler, "Attack Along a Ridgeline," in Combat Actions in Korea (Wash- 
ington; Combat Forces Press, 1954), 
* ibid. 


The Battle of the Naktong 175 

by the stream, with its inland border formed by a long valley, the bulge 
is an isolated terrain feature— a fortress of mountains topped by Hill 311, 
the key height. 

As the Yongsan road reaches the Bulge from the east, it turns south- 
west, winds around Hill 311, and stops at the tip of the "thumb" where 
a ferry links it to the road west of the river. 

Guarding the eastern approach to the natural fortress are two hills 
astride the Yongsan road — Finger Ridge to the north and Hill 207 to 
the south. The former is set off on the east by a deep gully containing 
the village of Tugok. Eastward from Hill 207 and directly below Tugok 
is Obong-ni Ridge— so called because of a village by that name at its 
eastern base. 

Not only had the NKPA 4th Division overrun the Naktong Bulge; 
it had pushed on along the road to Yongsan, seizing Hill 207, Tugok, 
and both Finger and Obong-ni Ridges, These latest gains and the Bulge 
itself were being consolidated by elements of all three regiments. 

Although units were somewhat depleted, at least 6 infantry battalions 
occupied the area, supported by 4 mortar companies, over 100 machine- 
guns, and several artillery pieces. There were 4 or more T34 tanks wi th- 
ill the bridgehead, and a signal and engineer company for overall sup- 
port. As the spoils of earlier victories, particularly the one at Taejon, 
enemy arms were generously augmented by a number of American car- 
bines and two 105-mm. howitzers/ 1 

It was decided by General Church and General Craig at their conference 
of 15 August that the entire 24rh Division, Reinforced, would assault 
the enemy bridgehead at 0800, 17 August, after strong air and artillery 
preparations. The 19th and 34th Infantry would converge on rhe Bulge 
from the northeast. In the center, the 9th RCT and the Marine Brigade 
would strike fronrally astride the MSR, the former on rhe north of the 
toad and the latter on the south. The 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, was to 
hold blocking positions in the south to protect the left flank of the 

On 15 August, front lines in rhe center of the zone were on Hill 125 
and Observation Hill, both defended by the 9th RCT. A thousand yards 

4 Brig Op Plan 13-50; Brig Periodic IntelRpts Nos. 12-14; Annex How. 
1 1bid.; and Brig Op Plan 1 3-50. 


The Pman Perimeter 

to the rear, the 34th Infantry occupied Cloverleaf Hill and adjacent high 
ground. Before the attack, the Brigade was to relieve the 34th on posi- 
tion so that the Army unit could move to the north for its assigned mis- 
sion. Then, at H-hour, the Marines would jump off from Observation 
Hill and seize Obong-ni Ridge — Objective One. Simultaneously, the 
9th RCT would drive forward through Tugok and take Finger Ridge, 
from which it was to support the Brigade's advance. The 1st Battalion, 
11th Marines, would be under operational control of the 24th Division 
artillery commander, and priority for all supporting fires would go to 
the Marines, 6 

During the planning, General Church emphasized that Cloverleaf 
Hill must remain occupied and defended until Brigade Objective One 
was seized. He considered this hill of utmost importance in blocking 
the MSR to the 24th Division CP and Miryang. This collateral respon- 
sibility would tie up a number of Brigade troops and have strong influ- 
ence on the tactics used against Obong-ni Ridge. 1 

Before the conference closed, Church promised Craig that 145 Army 
trucks would be available the next day to transport the Marines from 
their Miryang bivouac to an assembly area near the line of departure." 

At 1900, 15 August, Craig briefed his staff and unit commanders. The 
next morning the Brigade commander flew by helicopter to Church's 
CP and received the actual attack oider, which was idenrical with the 
planning of the previous day. y 

Later on the 16th, Craig drove to the front to reconnoiter the area 
marked for the Brigade jump-off. He visited the 9th RCT command 
post where Colonel Hill informed him that the Army unit was in good 
condition as it stood by for the great attack. 1 " 

Reconnaissance of Terrain 

After Craig's reconnaissance, Lieutenant Colonel Murray arrived at the 
front to discuss the tactical plan with the 9th RCT Commander. Al- 
though Colonel Hill spoke confidently of his outfit's teadiness for the 
arrack, Murray observed that the ranks of soldiers on Observation Hill 

'• Brig Op Plan 13-60. 

1 Craig, 4 Mar 54. 

* Ibid.; and Brig SAR, basic rpt. 

" Craig, 4 Mar 54, 

" Wtt. 


The Batik of the Naktong 1 77 

and Hill 125 were chin and the men obviously wearied by the fighting 
of the previous 5 days.' 1 

With this impression in mind, the 5th Marines commander studied 
the terrain soon to be his regiment's battleground. Between Observa- 
tion Hill and Obong-ni Ridge, a 300-yard rice paddy was flanked to the 
north of the road by the 9th RCT positions on Hill 125. Across the 
MSR from the northern tip of Obong-ni Ridge was the congested vil- 
lage of Tugok. West of the hamlet and northwest of Brigade Objective 
One was long, low Finger Ridge, target of Hill's RCT. 13 

Murray quickly concluded from the terrain that both regiments 
should not attack together and become exposed simultaneously in the 
low ground ahead. Since Obong-ni Ridge was closer than the Army ob- 
jective and dominated both Tugok and Finger Ridge, Murray suggested 
that the 5th Marines jump off alone at 0800, 17 August. If the 9th RCT 
would support him by (ire from Hill 125, he would take Obong-ni 
Ridge and return the courtesy while the Army unir cleared Tugok and 
seized Its objective. And though offering his plan on a ractical basis, 
Murray also took into consideration the condition and numbers of Hill's 
troops. 11 

The 9th RCT commander agreed, and the responsibility of deliver- 
ing the first punch lay with the 5th Marines. 14 

Time and chance were against the Brigade throughout 16 August and 
the following morning. Banking on the use of 145 Army trucks, Craig 
and Murray hoped to move quickly on the 16th, in order to have one 
infantry battalion take over Observation Hill and the other two avail- 
able for the attack on the 17th. Unfortunately, only 43 trucks were 
actually provided, with the result that time schedules were thrown off 
and troops forced to march long disrances the night before the attack. 11 

At 1900, 16 August, Lieutenant Colonel Taplett's 3d Battalion en- 
trucked at Miryang and rode ro the 5th Marines CP about 3,000 yards 
behind the fronr. Dismounting, 3/5 marched to Cloverlcaf Hill and re- 
lieved the 34th Infantry on position. Control of the area south of the 
MSR passed to Taplett at 0445, 17 August. 16 

11 24th InfDiv Op Instr No. 26 foe this period showed the 9th RCT(-) at 47 percent 
strength and 44 percent estimated combat efficiency. Morale for the consistently hard-hit 
24th Division was gauged "Fair," 

" Ibid. 

" I hid. 

M Ibht. 

" Brig SAR, basic tpt; Annex How; and Craig, A Mar 54. 
IS Annex How. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

The 2d Battalion proceeded on foot to its assembly area near Clover- 
leaf Hill at 0130 on the 17th, and Lieutenant Colonel Roise's men got 
little sleep as they prepared for the jump-off a few hours later. Owing to 
the shortage of trucks, the 1st Battalion arrived at the forward assembly 
area several hours later than planned. 17 

Overloaded trucks had shuttled Lieutenant Colonel Wood's artillery 
battalion forward on 16 August. Although registration fires were com- 
pleted by evening, the haste of the displacement and the doubtful infor- 
mation at the front left much to be desired from the standpoint of ac- 
curacy. 16 

While Obong-ni Ridge was known to be heavily defended, it was 
generally thought that Hill 207 — Brigade Objecrive Two— would be the 
hard nut to crack. And the potential of Objective Three, towering Hill 
311, was by no means minimized in preattack estimates. 19 Later events 
proved these assumptions to be the reverse of reality, but Marine plan- 
ners could do no better with the meager intelligence then available. 

The regimental commander and General Craig concluded that a 
frontal assault on Obong-ni Ridge with a column of battalions was the 
only answer to the problems posed by the terrain and situation. 

Since the Brigade commander had been specifically charged wirh rhe 
security of the MSR, it was necessary that 3/5 remain in position on 
Cloverleaf Hill until Objective One was taken. Taplett's battalion had 
a second responsibility in guarding the Brigade's left (south) flank, be- 
cause Craig considered the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, too far out to 
provide rhe required close-in protection. 2 " 

The Brigade commander, unaware of Murray's arrangemenr with 
Colonel Hill, could not have envisioned an approach to the enemy's 
left through the 9th RCT zone. He expected the Army unit to advance 
side by side with the Brigade and give supporting fire as directed by 
General Church. On the other hand, an envelopmenr of rhe enemy's 
right seemed out of the question. Using the southern approach to 
Obong-ni Ridge would have created a gap of several thousands yards 
in the center of the critical area, and the tow, barren marshland to the 
left would have impeded the movement of ranks and the employment 
of the 5th Marines' integral supporting arms.- 1 

W Ibid. 

'* Annex Item to Brig SAR; and Craig, 4 Mar 54. 
"> Stewart, 15 Jan 54; Murray, 15 Feb 54. 
i0 Craig, 4 Mar 54. 

ji ma. 

The Battle of the Naktong 179 

Lieutenant Colonel Murray's reasoning closely paralleled that of his 
superior. He did not visualize an envelopmcnr from the north because 
he expected a comparable effect from supporting fire by the 9th RCT. 
An attempt to flank the North Korean right would have placed the at- 
tacking unit far from the power consolidated along the MSR. The en- 
emy situation in the hills and swamps to the south was unknown, and 
the Marine regimental commander did not relish the thought of one or 
two of his battalions becoming isolated in that remote area. Then too, 
the southern peaks on Obong-ni Ridge were considerably higher and 
more rugged than those nearer the MSR. So it seemed logical to Mur- 
ray to retain depth and strength by striking frontally, quickly gaining 
a foothold on the lower, northern reaches of the ridge, then exploiting 
the penetrarion rapidly and vigorously." 

When asked about his tactical plan by General Craig, he stated that 
the 5th Marines would attack in a column of battalions, 2/5 seizing Ob- 
jective One, 1/5 passing through to take Hill 207, and 3/5 completing 
the reduction of the bulge by following with an assault on Objective 
Three. 23 

The Brigade commander voiced his concurrence, and the plan was put 
in motion. 24 

Air and Artillery Preparation 

Obong-ni Ridge sprawled across the Marine front like some huge pre- 
historic reptile. Its blunt head overlooked the MSR below Tugok, and 
the elongated body stretched to the southeast more than 2,000 yards be- 
fore losing its identity in a complex of swamps and irregular hill forma- 
tions. The high, narrow spine was marked by a series of peaks, beginning 
with Hill 102 at the neck, followed by 109, 117, 143, 147, and 153. There 
were still other peaks to the southeast, but so small and irregular as to 
be almost indistinguishable. 

A procession of steep spurs, separated from one another by pro- 
nounced gullies, ran down from the numbered peaks to the rice pad- 
dies far below. At the top of a gully extending down from the saddle 
between Hills 109 and 117 was a fault caused by erosion of the red clay 
a nd shale. Gaping like an ugly wound, the raw blemish inspired one of 
the ridge's first names -"Red Slash Hill." It was also dubbed "No 

u Murray, 15 Feb 54. 
11 ibid.; and Annex How. 
14 Murray, 15 Feb 54. 



The Battle of the Naktong 181 

Name Ridge" by some of the newspaper correspondents. 

Marine air and artillery were to pound the ridge on 17 August from 
0725 to H-hour, 0800, after which MAG-33 would strafe rhe hill ro 
cover rhe advancing infantrymen.-' Brigade artillery fired its preparation 
as planned; bur due cither to the hasty registration of the previous day 
or to error on the part of observers, the shelling was not effective against 
the enemy on Objective One. It was so inacurrate, in fact, that many 
officers of 2/5 thought there had been no preparation at all.- To make 
matters worse, air attacks scheduled to begin at 0725 did not materialize 
until 0740; and the 18 Corsairs assigned to the job had time for only 
one strike before H-hour." 

The two rifle companies of the 2d Battalion jumped off abreast ar 
0800, On the righr was Captain Zimmcr's Company D, emerging into 
the open from the road cut between Hill 125 and Observation Hill.'" 

Zimmer ordered the 2d Platoon into reserve on the southern spur of 
Hill 125 and established his OP there. The 3d Platoon, commanded by 
Second Lieutenant Michael J. Shinka, stepped from the road bend below 
the spur into the rice paddy. Advancing behind this unit were the 1st 
Platoon and a rocket section, the latter stopping in positions along the 
road bend to protect the MSR. 

Halfway across rhe rice paddy, Staff Sergeant T. Albert Crowson led 
his 1st Platoon to the right from behind the 3d, and both units ap- 
proached the base of the ridge on line. On Shinka's left was the 2d Pla- 
toon of Company E, An eerie silence pervaded the front while the 
assault platoons crossed the wide open area unmolested. 

Providing covering fire from its positions on Hill 125, Technical Ser- 
geant Sidney S. Dickerson's 2d Platoon was hit by long-range machine- 
gun bursts from Hills 117 and 143 on Obong-ni. Company D's first two 
casualties were taken. 

Company D on Objective 

While General Craig watched from the road cut, and Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Roise from his OP on Observation Hill, Company D's assault 

"Brig Op Plan 13-50. 

" Annexes How and Item to Brig SAR; Maj A. M. Zimmer, Itt to author, 6 May 54 
(Zimmer, 6 May 54); and W. E. Sweeney, ltr to author, 22 May 54 (Sweeney, 
22 May 54). 

" Annexes Easy and How to Brig SAR; and Brig Op Plan 13-50. 
38 Co D Action is derived from: Annex How; Zimmer, 6 May 54; and Capt M. J. 
Shinka, ltr to author, 7 Jim 54. 

J05713 O-F-55 15 

182 The Pusan Perimeter 

platoons began to ascend the objective. Gradually turning its back on 
the village of Tugok, Crowson's unit traced the draw on the right of the 
spur leading to Hill 102, while Shinka led his 3d Platoon up the gully 
on rhe left. The infantrymen were almost halfway up the slope when a 
battalion of the NKPA 18th Regiment opened fire with dozens of ma- 

Despite the hail of lead, Shinka and Crowson edged their unirs up- 
wards. The fire from Hills 117 and 143 finally became so intense, how- 
ever, that the 3d Platoon was momentarily unable to emerge from its 
gully. Almost simultaneously, enemy machineguns poured it into the 
1st Platoon, pinning that unit down and inflicting heavy casualties. 

Again pushing upward despite mounting casualties, the 3d Platoon 
attempted to assault Hill 109 about 1000. Communist automatic weap- 
ons and a shower of hand grenades from the crest sent the thin skirmish 
line of Marines reeling back down the barren slope. 

As the 3d Platoon came under increasing machinegun and mortar fire 
from Hills 117 and 143, Zimmer decided ro commit his reserve. Realiz- 
ing the apparent futility of pressing the attack up the 3d Platoon's gully, 
he ordered Dickcrson to attempt an assault through the draw in which 
the 1st Platoon was pinned down. 

The 2d Platoon crossed the rice paddy, following the roure used 
earlier by the 3d. Reaching the draw in which the latter was regrouping 
after its abortive assault, Dickerson led his men over Hill 102's spur, at- 
tempting to gain the avenue of approach being used by Crowson's unir. 
In the process he came under heavy automatic weapons fire from both 
flanks— Hills 117 and 143 on the left, and the hillside norrh of Tugok 
across the MSR. 

At this time the company commander spotted North Korean posi- 
tions above the village and realized why his pinned-down 1st Platoon 
was taking so many casualties. From rheir vantage point in the 9th RCT 
zone, the Communists were firing on the flank and rear of the Marines 
along the northwest approaches of Objective One. 

Zimmer requested that 2/5 lay supporting fires on Tugok. When he 
got no response, his forward observer, Lieutenant Wirth, transferred the 
mission to 1/11. But the 105's had scarcely begun firing when they were 
cut off because the impact area was in the 9th RCT's zone. The com- 
pany commander turned his own 60-mm. mortars on the enemy ma- 
chineguns, only to discover rhar the target lay beyond effective range. 

Zimmer had more success with supporting arms when the enemy 
posed another threat. Practically all the machinegun fire had been com- 

The Batik of the Naktong 183 

■ng from the north and south of Hills 102 and 109, while the enemy on 
these summits relied on rifles and vast numbers of hand grenades. Then, 
apparently shaken by the 3d Platoon's tenacity, the Communists tried to 
wheel a heavy machinegun into position on the saddle between the 
northernmost peaks. Twice the mounted weapon was hauled up, and 
twice pulled back under heavy Marine fire. By tin's time Zimmer had re- 
quested battalion to use a 75-mm. recoilless rifle on the target. When 
the persistent North Koreans wheeled the machinegun onto the saddle 
a third time, one round from a Marine 75 obliterated gun and crew. 

With only 15 men left in his platoon, Shinka prepared for a second 
assault on Hill 109. Following an air strike at 1100, the Marines stormed 
the high ground and overran enemy positions on the crest. Only a squad 
of North Koreans could show similar determination on the reverse 
slope, but the enemy's small-scale counterattack was stopped cold by 
Company D's riflemen. 

One of the few Marines who reached Obong-ni's summit during 2/5 's 
attack and lived to tell the story, Shinka later related the events follow- 
ing his seizure of Hill 109: 

"Fire from Hill 143 was gaining in intensity, and they had observation ovet our 
position. Fire was also coming from the hill to our front [Hill 207], I reported the 
situation to Captain Zimmer. A short time later phosphorus shells were exploding 
in Hill 143. This slowed the fire but it never did stop. 

"My resupply of ammo did not arrive. Running short of ammo and taking casual- 
ties, with the shallow enemy slit trenches for cover, I decided to fall back until some 
of the fire on my left flank could be silenced. I gave the word to withdraw and take 
all wounded and weapons. About three-quarters of the way down, I had the men 
set up where cover was available. I had six men who were able to fight. 

"I decided to go forward to find out if wc* left any of our wounded. As I crawled 
along our former position (on the crest of Hill 109), I came across a wounded Ma- 
rine between two dead. As I grabbed him under the arms and pulled him from the 
foxhole, a bullet shattered my chin. Blood ran into my throat and I couldn't breath. 
1 tossed a grenade at a gook crawling up the slope, didn't wait for it to explode, 
turned and reached under the Marine's arms and dragged him as far as the military 

"Another bullet hit my right arm, and the force spun me around. 1 rolled down 
the hill for a considerable distance before I could stop myself. 

"I walked into my lines and had a battle dressing tied on my face and arm. I 
learned thar the ammo was up and that a relief was contemplated; and then I 
walked back to 2/5's aid station where they placed me on a jeep and took me to 
regimental aid." 

Lieutenant Shinka was later awarded the Bronze Star for this action. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Attack of Company E 

At 0800 Lieutenant Sweeney had ordered his 1st and 2d Platoons of Easy 
Company into the attack from their line of departure on the southern 
portion of Observation Hill. Although the boundary separating the 
zones of Companies E and D extended from the left of Hill 109 and 
down through the red slash, Sweeney centered his advance on the vil- 
lage of Obong-ni, directly below Hills 143 and 147. - 9 

The leading platoons encountered nothing more than scattered shots 
crossing the rice paddy. Before they could gain a foothold on the slope 
of the objective, however, heavy fire from the village ripped into the 
skirmish line. 

In the center, Second Lieutenant Nickolas A. Arkadis led his 1st Pla- 
toon through the hail of bullets and drove through the village to the 
slopes of the ridge. On the right the 2d Platoon faltered and lost its 
momentum. Then a number of North Korean machineguns poured in 
flanking fire from Hills 147 and 153. 

Sweeney, from his OP on the southern slope of Observation Hill, 
tried to get an artillery mission on the two dominating peaks, but his 
forward observer was unable to contact the rear. Nor could the 4.2 mor- 
tar observer be located. 

Faced with the necessity of giving his assault elements some protec- 
tion, the company commander committed 2d Lieutenant Rodger E. 
Eddy's 3d Platoon, sending it to the spur on the left of the village. 
Working its way up the nose which led to Hills 147 and 153, Eddy's 
unit was able to concentrate its fire on the enemy-held peaks and relieve 
pressure on the other two platoons. 

With enemy fire gradually increasing from new positions on the 
lower slopes of the ridge to the south of the village, Sweeney ordered 
the mortar section and all of his headquarters personnel into the valley 
to block the southern approach through the rice paddy. Leaving this 
flank guard in command of his executive officer, First Lieutenant Paul 
R, Uffelman, the company commander rushed to the base of the objec- 
tive. Every single man in his unit was now committed. 

Sweeney found the 2d Platoon leaderless and disorganized. The 1st 
had fought its way well up the slope, aided by excellent supporting fire 
from 2/5's 81-mm. mortars. As that dogged group of Marines neared 
the crest, it was stopped when a friendly artillery barrage fell short, 

» This section is derived from: Annex How; and Sweeney, 22 May 54. 







100 50 Q 100 200 300 400 

The Pusan Perimeter 

searing the skirmish line with white phosphorus. 

Late morning found part of the company closing on the crest; but 
shorrly before 1130, the attackers were ordered to pull back in prepara- 
tion for an air strike by MAG-33. The planes came in quickly, and some 
of Company E's men, within 25 yards of the summit, were caught in the 

During the hammering by the Corsairs, the 3d Platoon slipped back 
100 yards, leaving the critical left flank open to enemy-infested peaks 
147 and 153. This time the hail of enfilade fire from Communist ma- 
chineguns caught the temnant of Easy Company rifleman exposed on 
the higher slopes, and the Marine advance crumbled. 

By noon on 17 August, the 2d Battalion, 5th Matines was wobbling. 
In 4 hours of fighting it had lost 23 dead and 119 wounded, prac- 
tically all of rhe casualties being taken by the 2 rifle companies. Every 
officer in the Brigade could lament the lack of a third company in each 
batralion; for just when 2/5's assault needed rhe added punch of a re- 
serve unit, the outcome of battle had to rest on the failing strength of 
six depicted rifle platoons. The ridge could not be taken. 

This, was unfortunate, since there was clear evidence that the NKPA 
4th Division was weakening. Although not apparcnr ro the men of 
Companies D and E, their repeated attempts to carry the ridge had torn 
gaps in the enemy's defenses. Bodies, weapons and wreckage were 
strewn along the entite northern crest. 3 " 

Marine air and artillery, having settled down after a fumbling start, 
not only blasted the North Korean lines, but also wrought havoc 
throughout the entire bridgehead. A large number of enemy mortars 
and field pieces were knocked out, troop concentrations cut down or 
scattered while trying to teinforce the fronr lines, and supply points 
obliterated. There were definite signs of increasing confusion in the en- 
emy's rear. 31 

General Craig had become alarmed at the lack of activity in the 9th 
RCT's zone, tesulting in the enemy being left free to pound the Bri- 
gade's right flank from the Tugok area. When he inquired concerning 
the Army's supposed failure to advance on schedule, he first learned of 
the prebattle agreemenr reached by Murray and Hill. Ir was then that he 
requested the village be taken under fire. 

Deeply concerned himself over the situation on the tight, particularly 

"LtGen E. A. Craig, Itr to author. 17 Mar 54 (Craig, 17 Mar 54); Annex Easy to 
Brig SAR, 
» Ibid. 

The Batik of the Naktong 


since no supporting fire at all had been received from the 9th RCT, 
Murray tried to contact Hill and request that he commit his regiment. 
Unable to get the message through immediately, he was forced to leave 
the matter dangling while directing the conduct of the battle." 

About 1300 the 5th Marines commander ordered the 1st Battalion to 
pass through the 2d and seize Obong-ni Ridge. While Newton moved 
his unit forward from its assembly area, MAG-33, 1/11 and Able Com- 
pany tanks laid down devastating fires on the blackened objective. 

" Murray, 15 Feb 54. 


Gbong-ni Ridge 

Company B to the Attack— Advance of Company A —Defeat of 
Enemy Tanks— End of the First Day— Enemy Counterattack on 
Ridge— Obong-ni Ridge Secured— Supporting Anns Clear the 


Shortly after 1330, WHILE reporting his situation to the battalion 
commander, Captain Zimmer was wounded by enemy machinegun 
fire which ripped into his OP and caused several other casualties. Qawl- 
in g to the company CP on the reverse slope of the spur, he turned his 
command over to Lieutenant Hani fin, who went forward. Zimmer rhen 
joined the steady srream of casualries returning through the road cut to 
the battalion aid station.' 

On the way, he met Captain Tobin leading Company B forward for 
the attack, and paused long enough to warn him about the enemy guns 
if i Tugok. 

Company D, its part in the battle having come to an end, prepared ro 
withdraw ro positions on Observation Hill. The long list of wounded 
f°r 17 August included the names of Dickerson and Wirth.^ 

Newton established his OP near that of Roise on Observation Hill. 
The 1st Battalion CP and aid station were set up with those of 2/5 
immediately behind the road cut, while farther back Major John W. 
Russell placed 1/5 's Weapons Company in position. 

Company B to the Attack 

Tobin deployed his 3d Platoon and machineguns on the forward slopes 
of Observation Hil! to support Company B's attack. The 1st and 2d 

1 This section is derived from: Brig SAR; Zimmer, 6 May 54; and Maj F, I, Fenton, Jr., 
Itr to author, 8 May 54 (Fenton, 8 May 54). 
1 Lt W"irth was actually attached from 1/(1, 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Platoons, the latter on the left, crossed the rice paddy and at 1500 passed 
through Company D on the slopes of the objective. Lieutenant Schry vet- 
led his 1st Platoon toward Hill 102 along the same avenue used by 
Crowson before him, while Lieutenant Taylor moved the 2d Platoon up 
the gully leading to the saddle between 102 and 109. 

On Observation Hill Captain Tobin noted the rapidity of the advance 
and called his executive officer, Captain Fen ton, preparatory to joining 
the two assault units. While briefing his assistant at the road bend, he 
was felled by a burst of machinegun fire. Fenton directed the evacuation 
of the seriously wounded officer, then took command of the company 
and joined the attackers on the ridge. 

By this time both assault platoons had been pinned down, the 1st 
about two-thirds of the way up the slope, the 2d only half that distance. 
The latter was taking heavy casualties from Communist guns on Hills 
109, 117, and 143, Taylor himself sustaining a mortal wound. 

Fenton and his gunnety sergeant, Master Sergeant Edward A. Wright, 
were stalled with the 2d Platoon. Since Schryver's unit was also held up, 
the company commander radioed Observation Hill and committed his 
3d Platoon. 

Schryver realized that the main obstacle to his advance was the fire 
hitting his flank from Tugok, and he requested a fire mission from 1/5's 
Weapons Company. As 81-mm. mortar shells rained down on the vil- 
lage, the 1st Platoon worked westward to the spur above the MSR and 
outflanked the NKPA 18th Regiment. A quick assault carried Hill 102 
at 1710. 

With Schryver's men driving down from the south and Company B's 
machincguns pouring fire on peaks 117 and 143, the 2d Platoon barreled 
its way up the draw and seized Hill 109 at 1725. 

Advance of Company A 

Leaving the line of departure from the southern reaches of Observation 
Hill, the 1st and 2d Platoons of Company A crossed the rice paddy while 
Marine air and artillery savagely blasted the forward and reverse slopes 
of the objective. The two assault units, each with a machinegun section 
attached, passed through Company E at 1500 and scrambled up the 
scarred hillside. 3 

1 This section is derived from: Annex How; Mai J. R. Stevens and Capt G. C. Fox, in- 
ter* with author, 24 Feb 54 (Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54); and 1st Lt Ftaneis W. Mueczel, 
USMC Ret., interv with author, 5-6 Jan 54 (Muetzel, 5-6 Jan 54).' 

ni Ridge 191 

Sweeney's battle-worn company withdrew, carrying its dead and 
wounded back to Observation Hill! The list of casualties included Lieu- 
tenant Arkadis, wounded while spearheading the unit's advance. 

As Company A's assault wave passed the halfway point of ascent, it 
met only sniping fire from the crest and forward slopes of Obong-ni 
Ridge. But any delusions that the enemy had quit were soon shattered 
when the summit suddenly came alive with Communist machineguns. 

Intense fire poured down on the attackers, and Marines pitched for- 
ward to roll limply down the hillside. First Lieutenant Robert C. Sebilian, 
leading the 1st Platoon up the draw between Hills 109 and 117, ignored 
the storm of steel and urged his men forward. Standing fully exposed 
while pointing out enemy positions to his NCO's, the young officer was 
struck by an explosive bullet which shattered his leg. Technical Sergeant 
Orval E McMullen took command and resolutely pressed the attack. 

The 1st Platoon reached the saddle above the draw just as Company 
B was taking Hill 109. When McMullen tried to advance southward to 
H7, he and his men were pinned down by a solid sheet of Communist 

On the left, North Korean guns had already cut Second Lieutenant 
Thomas H. Johnston's 2d Platoon in half. The pint-sized platoon leader 
proved to be a giant in courage. He pushed doggedly up the draw be- 
tween Hills 117 and 143, but casualties bled his skirmish line white and 
finally brought it to a stop. 

Marines watching the battle from Observation Hill saw Company A's 
attack bog down, despite the ceaseless pounding of Hills 117 and 143 by 
Brigade supporting arms. Startled, the observers noted a lone figure who 
bolted forward from the 2d Platoon's draw and stubbornly scrambled up 
the hill. It was Johnston attempting a single-handed assault on the core 
°f enemy resistance. 

The astonished onlookers saw him reach the saddle north of Hill 143. 
That he survived to this point was remarkable enough, yet he continued 
t0 push forward. Then, at the base of the blazing peak, the little figure 
sagged to the ground and lay motionless. 

Technical Sergeant Frank J. Lawson immediately took over the platoon, 
displaying outstanding leadership in his attempt to continue the attack. 
Communist guns and grenades prevailed, however, and again the line of 
'nfantrymcn stalled. The 2d Platoon now consisted of a squad. 

Captain Stevens radioed Lieutenant Colonel Newton from his OP and 
requested permission to commit his 3d Platoon, then deployed on Ob- 
servation Hill as battalion reserve. The request granted, First Lieutenant 


The Pman Perimeter 

George C. Fox led the platoon forward into the rice paddy just as a 
heavy mortar barrage fell in the area. One of Fox's men was killed 

Moving quickly to Obong-ni Ridge and ascending the slope, the 3d 
Platoon was joined by Lawson and the temnants of Johnston's outfit. 
The skirmish line passed the critical halfway point, and again enemy 
machineguns and grenades opened up. 

Twice Fox attempted to develop an assault, failing both times to get 
his platoon through the curtain of fire above the gully. While Technical 
Sergeant Stanley G. Millar was reorganizing the skirmish line, the pla- 
toon leader and Private First Class Benjamin C. Simpson of the 2d 
Platoon made an attempt to reach Johnston. 

The pair climbed to a point above the gully from which Simpson 
could see the fallen officer. Assured now that Johnston was dead, and 
unable to recover rhe body because of interlocking machinegun fire 
across the area, Fox and the rifleman slid down the draw to the 3d 
Platoon lines. 

By this time Stevens had moved to the base of Obong-ni Ridge, but 
he had lost radio contact with the three units high on the hillside. He 
could see the combined 2d and 3d Platoons; but the 1st was out of sight, 
leaving the company commander unaware of a limited success that could 
have been exploited. 

Defeat of Enemy Tanks 

Shortly aftei 2/5's jump-off on 17 August, the M-26's of the 3d Platoon, 
Able Company Tanks, moved forward of the road cut and suppofted the 
advance by 90-mm. and machinegun fire. The Marine armor, led by 
Second Lieutenant Granville G. Sweet, concentrated on heavy NKPA 
weapons along the crest of Objective One and knocked out at least 12 
antitank guns and several automatic weapons. In return, 1 M-26 with- 
stood 3 direct hits by enemy mortars, and the 4 vehicles combined were 
struck by a total of 23 antitank projectiles. Neither tanks nor crews were 
bothered appreciably, and only one man was slightly wounded," 

Aftet the 1st Battalion had passed through 2/5, a section of tanks 
moved fotward on the road and blasted several North Korean positions 

J This section is derived from: Annex How; Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54; Cape Almarion 
S. Bailey, interv with author, 17 Dec 53; T/Sgt C. R. Fullerron, Itr to Opns Research 
Office, Johns Hopkins University (cover ltr; OIC RS Cleveland, ser, 527-53, 31 Dec 53)- 

Obong-ni Ridge 193 

in Tugok. When Company B seized the northern tip of the objective, 
Sweet led all his vehicles back to the tank CP, 1,000 yards east of 
Observation Hill. 

At 2000, while still refueling and replenishing ammunition stocks, the 
tankmen learned that four enemy T-34'x were approaching the Brigade 
lines on the MSR. The Marine armor was clanking toward the front 
within a matter of seconds. About 300 yards from the road cut, the 
tankmen had to jump from their vehicles to remove trucks blocking the 
MSR, Then, approaching the narrow defile, Sweet ordered his 1st Sec- 
tion to load with 90-mm. armor-piercing shells. 

Company B, consolidating its positions on Hills 102 and 109, had first 
noticed the four NKPA tanks and a column of infantry moving toward 
Us lines at 2000. Corsairs of MAG-33 screamed down immediately, de- 
stroying the fourth armored vehicle and dispersing the Red riflemen. 
The first three tanks came on alone, passed Finger and Obong-ni Ridges, 
and approached the road bend at Hill 125. 

Preparing a reception for the T-34's were the 1st 75-mm. Recoilless 
Gun Plaroon on Observation Hill, and the rocket section of 1/5's anti- 
tank assault platoon on Hill 125. As the first enemy tank reached the 
bend, it took a hit in the right track from a 3,5" rocket. Shooting wildly, 
tr >e black hulk continued until its left track and front armor were 
Wasted by Second Lieutenant Paul R. Fields' 75's. The enemy vehicle 
burst into flame as it wobbled around the curve and came face to face 
wi th Technical Sergeant Cecil R. Fulierton's M-26. 

Still aimlessly firing its 85-mm. rifle and machinegun, the T-34 took 
two quick hits from the Marine tank's 90-mm. gun and exploded. One 
North Korean got out of the burning vehicle but was cut down instantly 
by rifle fire. He crawled beneath the blazing wreckage and died. 

The second T-34 charged toward the bend, taking a 3.5 rocket hit 
from Company A's assault squad. Weaving crazily around the curve, 
w ith its right track damaged, the cripple was struck in the gas tank by a 
r ocket from l/5's assault section before meeting the fury of Field's re- 
c °illess rifles. It lurched to a stop off the road behind the first tank, and 
the 85-mm. gun fired across the valley into the blue yonder. 

°J this time a second M-26 had squeezed next to that of Fullerton on 
the narrow firing line, and the two Marine tanks blasted the T-34 with 
six 90-mm. shells. Miraculously, the Communist vehicle kept on shoot- 
ln g> although its fire was directionless. Marine armor poured in seven 
m ore rounds, which ripped through the turret and exploded the hull. 

Before the kill, one Red tankman opened the turret hatch in an effort 

The Pusan Perimeter 

to escape. A 2.36" white phosphorus round, fired by a 1st Battalion 
rocket man, struck the open lid and richochetcd into the turret. The 
enemy soldier was knocked back into the tank as the interior turned into 
a furnace. 

The third T-34 raced around the road bend to a stop behind the blaz- 
ing hulks of the first two. Marine tanks, recoilless rifles, and rockets 
ripped into it with a thundering salvo. The enemy tank shuddered, then 
erupted in a violent explosion and died. 

Thus the Brigade shattered the myth of the T-34 in five flaming 
minutes. Not only Corsairs and M-26's, but also every antitank weapon 
organic to Marine infantry had scored an assist in defeating the Commu- 
nist armor. 

End of the First Day 

Throughour 17 August the evacuation of dead and wounded had been a 
major concern of every Marine, from fire team leaders up to the Brigade 
commander. Men risked rheir lives dragging casualties off the blazing 
slopes of Obong-ni Ridge to relative safety at the base. Litter bearers 
plodded back and forrh across the fire-swept rice paddy, and a steady 
stream of wounded passed through the 1st and 2d Battalion aid stations 
behind the road cut. Medical officers of the two battalions, Lieutenants 
(jg) Bentley G. Nelson and Chestet L. Klein, worked tirelessly with 
their corpsmcn. 

In the rear, Lieutenant Commander Byron D. Casteel had to com- 
mandeer every ambulance in the area— including 16 Army vehicles— to 
evacuate wounded to and from his 5 th Marines aid station. So acute was 
the shottage of hospital corps men that the Brigade's Malaria and Epi- 
demic Control Unit was used to reinforce rhe regimental medical staff. 
Even so, the hospital tents were busy fot a straight 18 hours. 5 

The small number of deaths from wounds' attested to the speed and 
effectiveness of helicopter evacuations; for the pilots of VMO-6 were 
ferrying the more serious casualties from the regimental aid station to 
the Army's 8076 Surgical Hospital at Miryang, some 20 miles away. 

While medics toiled to save lives, the spiritual needs of casualties were 
filled by the inspiring labor of the 5th Marines' naval chaplains, Lieu- 
tenant Commandet Orlando Ingvolstad, Jr., Lieutenant William G. 
Tennant, and Lieutenant (jg) Bernard L. Hickey. A familiar figure at the 

1 Annexes Love and Tare to Brig SAR. 

Obong-ni Ridge 195 

front, frequency exposed to enemy fire as he administered to fallen Ma- 
rines, was Lieutenant Commander Otto E. Sporrer, beloved chaplain 
of 1/U. 

Two serious obstacles to the various missions behind the front were 
the dud-infested area east of Observation Hill and a section of collapsed 
MSR in the river bed occupied by the 5th Marines CP. First Lieutenant 
Wayne E. Richards and his 2d Platoon, Able Company Engineers, spent 
most of 17 August at the tedious task of removing unexploded missiles 
from the forward assembly areas. The engineers' 1st Platoon had to tear 
down part of an unoccupied village for material to reinforce the sinking 
road over which rhe jeep ambulances and supply trucks were struggling. 

As the sun dropped behind Obong-ni Ridge, activity on the MSR 
continued unabated, although the battle for Objective One had dimin- 
ished to a crackle of rifle fire and occasional machinegun bursts. 

Company A had been unable to rake Hills 117 and 143, still bristling 
w hh enemy automatic weapons. At 2030, shortly after the smashing vie* 
tory over North Korean armor, Captain Srevens contacted his 1st Platoon 
and learned that it was on the saddle between peaks 109 and 117. 
Although tied in on the right with Company B, the platoon was sepa- 
rated by a 100-yard gap from Stevens' other two platoons on the slopes 
to the left, 6 

The company commander called Fox, Lawson, and McMullen together 
"car the base of the ridge to consult them on continuing the attack. All 
platoon leaders advised against it, since darkness was falling and then- 
units needed rest, food, water, and ammunition. Moreover, the enemy's 
bold tank attack had convinced the infantry leaders that a larger counter- 
stroke by the Communists was imminent, and they wanted time for 
preparation. 7 

Stevens informed Newton of the situation by radio, and the battalion 
commander ordered him to discontinue the attack and tie in with 
Anton's unit for the night. It was already dark when the 2d and 3d Pla- 
toons shifted to the right from their positions below Hills 117 and 143. 

Company B had been busily consolidating its high ground since the 
seizure of Hills 102 and 109 earlier in the evening. While Fenton's ma- 
chineguns dueled wirh those of the Reds on 117, his 1st and 2d Platoons 
deployed defensively on the forward slopes of the two captured peaks, 
and the 3d went into reserve on the reverse slope." 

'' Annex How; and Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54. 
1 Ibid. 

* Annex How; and Fenton, 8 May 54. 


The Pman Perimeter 

Company A's front extended left from the southern part of Hill 1.09— 
where the 1st Platoon was linked to Fenton's unit— to the center of the 
saddle toward 117. There the line bent down in an arch, formed by the 
2d Platoon, to the spur below the enemy-held peak. Able Company's 
left was actually perpendicular to the ridgehne, for Fox's 3d Platoon 
was deployed up and down Hill 117's spur.^ 1 

To complete the Brigade front, Headquarters Company of 1/5 was 
to have extended across the rice paddy from Observation Hill and tied 
in with Company A's left flank. Due to the casualties and workload of 
the headquarters troops, this connection was never made, with the result 
that Fox's platoon remained dangling, 1 " 

When General Craig returned to his CP near Yongsan on the night 
of 17 August, he was not unduly concerned about the tactical situation. 
Although the Brigade had been thinned by heavy casualties, Murray's 
disposition in depth across a narrow front gave the Marines the advan- 
tages of concentrated strength and firepower. If the enemy attempted his 
usual night envelopment, both 2/5 and 3/5 could strike back from their 
reserve positions on Observation and Cloverleaf Hilts. 11 

Across the MSR, the 9th RCT had launched its attack earlier in the 
evening, clearing Tugok and seizing Finger Ridge against negligible re- 
sistance. By darkness, the 19th and 34th Regiments were also sitting on 
their objectives to the north, leaving the 4th NKPA Division clamped 
in a vice. To the southeast, the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry, was holding 
its blocking position with no difficulty. 12 

Enemy Counterattack on Ridge 

Late on 17 August, when the attack on Obong-ni Ridge ceased, General 
Craig sent a message to his subordinate commanders, directing them to 
"... consolidate positions for night, account for location of each indi- 
vidual and be prepared for counterattack; carefully prepare plan of fires 
for night to include plans for fires within and in rear of positions; wire 
in where possible in front line elements." 13 

Long after nightfall, the weary Marines of both front line companies 
were still digging foxholes and organizing their defenses. While this 

' Brig SAR; and Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54. 
"> Ibid. 

" Craig, 17 Mar 54; and Co] R. L, Murray, 20 Mar 54. 
11 24th InfDiv Op Inscr No. 26. 

"This section is derived from: Annex How; Stevens and Fox, 24 Feb 54; Muetzel, 5-6 
Jan 54; and Fenton, 8 May 54, 

Obong-ni Ridge 197 

work continued in spite of sporadic Communist fire from Hill 117, the 
South Korean laborers were transporting supplies to the ridgeline or 
carrying casualties back to the rear. 

Captain Stevens established Company A's command post at the top of 
the draw leading to the saddle between Hills 109 and 117. His 60-mm, 
mortar section set up its weapons in the gully itself. 

Shortly before 2200, the telltale whine and rattle of mortar shells cut 
through the darkness and the men of Able Company crouched in their 
holes. The explosions were followed by a shower of fire as whire phos- 
phorus enveloped the center of the company area. Almost every man in 
the gully was painfully wounded, leaving Stevens without a mortar sec- 
tion. The edge of the barrage hit the 3d Platoon's area, wounding Fox 
and several of his men. Two riflemen had to be evacuated, but the pla- 
toon leader and rhe others applied first aid and remained in the line, 

After this brief flurry the front settled down to an ominous quiet 
interrupted only occasionally by North Korean guns to the south. 

At 0230 on 18 August, the Marines of Company A heard enemy 
Movement on Hill 117. Suddenly there was a hail of bullets from Com- 
munist machineguns on the peak, and hand grenades began to roll down 
'nto the Marine positions. A North Korean platoon made a few bounds 
from the high ground and landed almost literally on top of Stevens' 
depicted 2d Platoon. 

Simultaneously, Company B's position on Hill 109 was sttuck hard 
by two platoons advancing up the draw to the west. Heedless of illumi- 
nating shells fired by 1/5's 81-mm. morrars, the enemy assaulted method- 
'cally by alternately throwing small groups of grenadiers and subma- 
chinegunners against Marine positions. The NKPA infantrymen were 
covered by a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire pouring down 
from Hill 117, 

An enemy squad emerged from the gully west of the saddle between 
peaks 102 and 109, attempting to divert strength from Fenton's main 
defensive effort to the south. Failing in this effort, the group fell back 
to fire harassing shots. 

Company A's 2d Platoon slugged it out with three times its own 
numbers for a full half hour. This stand was due largely to the courage 
a nd leadership of Lawson, who stuck to hts guns and refused evacuation, 
though wounded three times. About 0300, with Marines on the right 
devoting more artention to the heavier attack against Hill 109, the ex- 
hausted survivors of the 2d Platoon were overrun and the Brigade line 

303713 O-F-55 — 14 



The Pusan Perimeter 

For some unknown reason, enemy troops did not pour down the 
eastern slopes after the breakthrough. Only one squad drove through, 
and it split Company A in half by invading Stevens' CP, directly behind 
the 2d Platoon's lines. The company commandet and his headquarters 
were slowly forced down the draw by the methodical grenade and 
submachinegun fire from above. 

The remainder of the North Korean platoon which had hit Company 
A remained on the crest for a joint effort with the larger force striking 
Hill 109. Stevens' 1st Platoon, with its left flank now exposed on the 
saddle, gradually fell back and curled around the southern face of 109- 

Although Company B's left front held firm against the two-platoon 
assault, a few Reds slipped by the Marine foxholes and charged into 
Fenton's CP on Hill 109. Rocker gunners, mortarmen and clerks 
responded to the challenge and quickly eliminated the attackers. 

When Fenton became aware that the saddle south of Hill 109 had 
been taken, he tightened his left flank by drawing it in to his 3d Pla- 
toon's reverse slope positions. This portion of his defense now took the 
shape of a football, and successfully withstood pressure from the south. 

By 0400 Stevens had temporarily lost control of Company A, although 
the situation looked worse than it actually was. While the company 
commander stabilized his center near the bottom of the draw, his execu- 
tive officer, First Lieutenant Fred F. Eubanks, Jr., made single-handed 
forays up rhe gully. He was eventually aided in his private war by rhe 
company's machinegun officer, Second Lieutenant Francis W. Muetzel. 
After the breakthrough, the latter had been wounded and left for dead 
in his foxhole behind the 2d Platoon. Upon regaining consciousness, he 
made his way down the draw, fighting it out with enemy soldiers until 
he reached the Marine lines. Company A's 3d Platoon along the spur 
below Hill 1 17 enjoyed a seemingly illogical immunity during the coun- 
terattack. Although isolated after rhe penetration and deployed ideally 
from the enemy's point of view, Fox's men had only occasional brushes 
with Red infantrymen who displayed a remarkable lack of inrerest. After 
the platoon leader learned of the situation on his right, he redeployed 
into an elongated perimeter which included a few survivors of the 2d 

Lieutenant Colonel Newton, when notified of Company A's with- 
drawal on the left front, called down such a tremendous volume of artil- 
lery fire on enemy approaches that 1/11 asked him to conserve a few 
shells for the Brigade attack scheduled for 0700. The battalion com- 
mander replied that the Brigade would be fighting to retake Objective 







The Pusan Perimeter 

One at 0700 if his beleaguered companies did not get maximum sup- 
porting fire. While the artillerymen continued to pound Obong-ni 
Ridge, Newton's 81 -mm. mortars, strengthened by 2/5 's entire stock of 
ammunition, added to the hot metal thrown at the enemy. It can only 
be conjectured why the NKPA thrust against the Brigade lines never 
developed above the company level, but Newton's generosity with high 
explosives probably did not encourage Communist aspirations. 

Obong-ni Ridge Secured 

By dawn of 18 August, the North Korean attackers had spent their 
strength, leaving Company B in undisputed control of Hills 102 and 109. 
As if in frustration, enemy machineguns on 117 spat angrily at the 
Marines while the few surviving Red infantrymen withdrew to their 

Stevens prepared at first light to complete the unfinished business of 
the previous day. Thanks to the heroism of his wounded gunnery ser- 
geant, Technical Sergeant Paul A. Hodge, the company commander had 
regained contact with Fox before dawn and was able to prepare for an 
attack. At 0700, after moving forward to the 3d Platoon's area and clear- 
ing with Newton, he ordered Fox to continue the attack and seize Hill 

The platoon leader shouted to his men who arose as a body to begin 
the ascent. When a lone Red machinegun broke the silence on 117, 
Stevens spotted the weapon immediately and called for an air strike. 
Within seconds a Marine fighter plane glided over the 3d Platoon and 
dropped a 500-pound bomb squarely on the enemy position. The re- 
sponse from Marine air had been so prompt that every one of the at- 
tackers was knocked off his feet and one of Fox's automatic riflemen was 

While the echoes of the shatteting explosion were still reverberating 
through the morning haze, the thin skirmish line of Marines scrambled 
up the slope and carried Hill 117, McMullen's 1st Platoon drove in from 
109, and the North Koreans fled in panic from the crest and reverse 
slope positions, A full company of Reds raced down the western slope, 
with Stevens' riflemen and machinegunners firing from the crest to rip 
into the enemy groups. 

Capitalizing on a psychological advantage, Company A wheeled 
southward to sweep the crest. Fox, using a skirmish line of only 20 men, 



assaulted Hill 143 and took the peak against light resistance. A quick 
call to Newton brought Stevens immediate permission for maximum 

The 3d Platoon attacked Hill 147 vigorously, and though a few Red 
soldiers fought to the bitter end, the majority again chose to flee. The 
high ground was taken easily. 

As the Marines moved over the crest of 147, they saw 150 enemy 
troops in formation halfway down the western slope. The withdrawal 
commenced in an orderly column of fours but the formation broke down 
quickly under Marine fire and rurned into a routed mob. 

Fox turned his attention to Hill 153, Obong-ni's crowning peak, rea- 
soning that it would be the logical place for the enemy's last-ditch stand. 
But it was the same old story when rhe 3d Platoon rushed to the sum- 
mit—abandoned weapons and equipment, a few scattered dead, and 
blasted foxholes. There was a variation, however, when a supposed 
clump of scrub pines arose from the reverse slope and rushed downward 
|n headlong flight. The Leathernecks were reminded of Birnham Wood 
in Shakespeare's Macbeth as the camouflaged North Koreans disap- 
peared with the agility of mountain goats before Marine marksmen 
could score more than a few hits. 

While rhe 1st and 2d Platoons consolidated the central peaks, the 3d 
combed the southern reaches below Hill 153 without incident. The 1st 
Platoon, Able Company Engineers, patrolled the swampland south of 
the ridge and secured Fox's left flank with a minefield extending from 
the southern crest to the valley below and eastward across the swamp. 
B y midafrernoon all of Obong-ni Ridge belonged to the Brigade. 

Arms Clear the Bulge 

At midnight, 17 August, Lieutenant Colonel Murray had issued 3/5 
a warning order for continuing the attack on the 18th. Shottly after 
dawn, Taplett and his two company commanders, Fegan and Bohn, 
Usually reconnoitered Hill 207— Objective Two— from vantage points 
"orth and south of the MSR. Then, while the battalion commander set 
U P his OP on the northern parr of Obong-ni Ridge, Companies G and 
B advanced to an assembly area at the base of the Ridge. 14 
Taplctt called down heavy arrillery, air, and mortar preparations on 

'* This section is derived from: Annexes Easy and How to Brig SAR; Taplecc, iO Apr 
'% and Fegan and Bohn, 17 Apr 54. 


Objective Two. Occasionally he shifted fires to blast large groups of 
enemy fleeing to Hill 207 from Company A's advance on Obong-ni 

Directly south of Finger Ridge, two large spurs form the northern 
approach to Hill 207. Company H emerged into the open at 1000 from 
the MSR between Obong-ni and Finger Ridges and attacked up the 
eastern spur. Following Fegan's unit was Company G, which veered to 
the right and advanced up the western spur. The two infantry units 
slowly ascended, separated by a deep gully, while the 3d Platoon of Able 
Company tanks fired overhead and to the flanks from its positions in the 

When Fegan's unit was halfway up the eastern spur, the Marine tank- 
men saw a platoon of North Koreans attempting to flank the attackers. 
Maehinegun and 90-mm. fire from the M-26's killed or dispersed the 
Reds at a range of 300 yards. 

As Lieutenant Williams worked How Company's 1st Platoon close 
enough for an assault of the summit, several NKPA soldiers rose from 
their holes and threw down hand grenades. The Marines hit the deck 
until the missiles exploded, then bounded up and rushed the crest. Un- 
nerved by Williams' perfect timing, most of the North Koreans fled 
southward along the ridge. The remainder died in their positions during 
a brief but bitter fight. 

Moving up on Fegan's right, Bohn's men pushed over the western 
naif of the objective, finding only a handful of enemy who were quickly 
destroyed. Company G's assault completed the seizure of Objective Two 

During the last minutes of the fight on Hill 207, the entire Naktong 
^dge suddenly swarmed with panic-stricken remnants of the 4th NKPA 
Division. What had been a retreat of small forces now became a wide- 
s pread rout. Enemy troops poured down from Objective Two, some 
scurrying up the slopes of Hill 311 across the MSR, others making for 
tri e Naktong River. 

Air, artillery, and mortars were now offered a profusion of targets by 
^n enemy who ordinarily did not reveal himself during daylight hours. 
MAG-33 plastered the suspected CP of the 18th NKPA Regiment on a 
Peak south of 207, shattering communications equipment and weapons, 
yther Marine planes alternated strafing runs with 1/11's continual ar- 
tillery barrages along the river banks, where enemy troops were gather- 
m g by the hundreds. 

Victory turned into slaughter when the Brigade supporting arms 

The Pusan Perimeter 

concentrated on the masses of Communists plunging into the river. AD 
artillery having been turned loose on the river crossings, Taplett used his 
mortars, macluncguns, and the supporting tanks to cut down targets in 
the valley and on Hills 207 and 311. He requested permission to attack 
the latter immediately, but was told to remain on Objective Two while 
the Brigade gave all of its attention to the astounding situation at the 

At 1530 Companies G and H descended Hill 207. They were met at 
the bottom by First Lieutenant Pomeroy's 1st Platoon of tanks and 
escorted across the valley to the base of Hill 311— Objective Three. In 
advance of the infantrymen, MAG-33 scorched the high ground with 
napalm while artillery, mortars, and 75-mm. recoilless rifles worked over 
the slopes. 

Again Fegan and Bohn moved up companion spurs which converged 
on their target, the 1,000-foot height. Progress was good until Company 
H came within 200 yards of the crest. Then a volley of rifle fire from the 
summit and forward slopes forced the Marines to the ground. Although 
confronted by only a platoon, Fegan was at a disadvantage. Scrub growth 
not only concealed the Communist riflemen, but also prevented the use 
of Company H's machineguns. Maneuver to the right or left was impos- 
sible, since the steep draws on either side were well covered by camou- 
flaged enemy positions. Several Marines who tried to advance fronrally 
were cur down by rifle fire. 

The enemy platoon's defense was nor based on the usual machinegun 
fire and grenade throwing. With calm, business-like efficiency, NKPA 
riflemen kept Company H pinned to the ground, finally wounding 
Fegan himself as the officer attempted to regain the initiative. After his 
evacuation, the attack bogged down completely. 

At 1730, Company G had reached the southern portion of the longi 
narrow crest by brushing aside light resistance. Turning irs attention 
northward, the company entered into a small-arms duel with the Com- 
munist force opposing Fegan's unit. When supporting arms failed to 
dislodge the enemy rifleman, Bohn enveloped the troublesome pocket 
by sending Cahill's 1st Platoon around to the left (west). 

The young platoon leader completed the maneuver just before night- 
fall and overran the Reds on the northern half of the summit. But the 
enemy on the forward slopes facing Company H suddenly showed fight. 
The 1st Platoon, pushed rearward a short distance by the surprise re- 
sistance, slugged it out at close quarters. 

With darkness closing in and the platoon so far beyond Marines lines, 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Bohn ordered it to withdraw. Cahill, wounded himself, reported on his 
return that the platoon had suffered 10 casualties, including 2 killed. 

Taplett ordered the two companies to deploy defensively in their 
present positions. Thus, during the quiet night of 18-19 August, Com- 
panies G and H faced the enemy pocket at right angles to each other. 

Earlier on the 18th Lieutenant (jg) Robert J. Harvey, 3d Battalion 
surgeon, had the unpleasant task of examining an abandoned Army aid 
station under the bridge near the tip of Finger Ridge. The improvised 
hospital had been overrun during Army reverses a week before; and 
about 30 dead found by the Marines bore mute evidence of the enemy's 
brutality in dealing with captured wounded and medical personnel. 

At 0610 on the morning of 19 August, 3/5 's 81 -mm. mortars prepared 
the way for the final drive on Objective Three. Following close in the 
wake of the mortar bursts, Second Lieutenant Thomas P. Lennon led 
Company H through cvacuared enemy positions. He reached the north- 
ern part of Hill 311 without meeting any opposition. 

This last Brigade objective was secured at 0645, leaving 1/5 atop 
Obong-ni Ridge, 2/5 on Hill 207 to which it had displaced on the 18th, 
and 3/5 in possession of the dominating height of the Naktong Bulge. 
The reduction of the enemy bridgehead cost the Marines 66 dead, 1 
missing in action, and 278 wounded. 



Second Naktong 

The Famous Bean Patch — Planning [or Inchon Landing— Return 
to the Naktong Bulge— All-Out NKPA Offensive— The Marines 
Jump Off— Progress of Brigade Attack —Assault on Hill 111 

|T Was all over but the mopping- up operations. Battalion areas were 
*■ carefully patrolled on 19 August to clear them of NKPA snipers or 
st 5aggl ers . During this process a patrol ranging along the Naktong river 
discovered three enemy 122-mm. howitzers hidden in a strip of woods 
on a hill. The pieces had not been touched by Marine air or artillery, 
what was more surprising, they were emplaced in a column to fire over 
° n c another— something new and wondetful that the Marines had never 
seen before. 1 General Craig concluded that these howitzers had fired the 
s hells which landed on Marine positions to the bitter end. 

The next day the Brigade commander took a helicopter to 24th Divi- 
sion Headquarters to confer with General Church. There he was in- 
armed rhat the Marines had been detached from 24 th Division 
°perational control to Eighth Army reserve. Church complimented the 
^ngade warmly on its performance, and letters of commendation were 
lat « received both from him and CG EUSAK. 

At 1300 on the 21st Craig arrived by helicopter at a new Brigade 
Divo uac area near Masan that was to be recorded in capital letters as the 
° e an Patch, It was just that—a bean patch large enough to accommo- 
date a brigade; Bur from this historic spot rhc Marines were to fight their 
^ay around the peninsula during the next 5 months and complete the 
Clr cuit to their identical starting point. 

General Craig arrived along with the Brigade advance elements. After 
^tting up his CP, he reported to General Kean, of the 25th Division, 

1 This section is derived from: LtGen Edward A. Craig (Ret), kr to author, 23 May 54 
[Lr *g, 23 May 54). 



The Pusan Perimeter 

who was in control of the bivouac area. Kean divulged that the situation 
in his sector had deteriorated. The enemy had made several penetrations, 
and Brigade assistance might be required in the event of further break- 
throughs. As it was, Kean had been authorized by Eighth Army to em- 
ploy Brigade artillery along with his own; and 1/11 proceeded the next 
day to the familiar Chindong-ni area in support of 25th Division 

Orders were received from Eighth Army for the Brigade infantry to be 
prepared to counterattack in the 25 th Division sector as part of its re- 
serve mission. General Craig and Lieutenant Colonel Stewart made a 
helicopter reconnaissance of the areas of greatest activity, but events 
proved that the Marine rifle battalions were not needed. 

The Famous Bean Patch 

Unit training, including the checking and firing of all weapons, was 
conducted ar the Bean Patch; and Marine parrols were sent out to the 
rear of the 25th Division to watch for infiltrating forces. Patrols in 
rugged country were fed hot meals delivered in special containers by the 
versatile helicopters of VMO-6. 

Truckloads of supplies rolled in daily from Pusan, including some of 
the equipment left behind at the docks when the Brigade landed. But 
no tentage was available, and the exhausting marches of combat had 
forced the men to discard everything except fighting tools. In the lack of 
shelter tents, therefore, the Marines lived in the open at the Bean Patch. 

General Craig conferred on 23 August with General Kean and a dis- 
tinguished visitor, General J. Lawron Collins, Chief of Staff, USA. 
Collins was keenly interested in Marine methods of knocking out NKPA 
tanks and requested Craig to prepare a memorandum on the subject. 

That evening the entire Brigade attended an outdoor enterrainment 
given on an improvised stage by South Korean girls, who sang and 
played native instruments which sounded out of tune to Western ears- 
Translations of the songs were forthcoming, since some of the girls were 
English-speaking refugees from Seoul Universiry. Afterwards, General 
Craig addressed the Brigade, paying a high tribute to his Marines for 
their conduct in battle. NKPA prisoners, he said, had told G-2 inter- 
viewers that they earnestly wished to steer clear of "the Americans in 
yellow leggings." 

Second Naktong 209 

Letters from home and beer from Pusan 2 contributed to good Marine- 
morale, even though no liberty was granted to nearby towns. On the 
2 9th an honor guard of 87 Marines received Purple Heart medals at a 
ceremony attended by President Syngman Rhee, who arrived in a heli- 
copter provided by VMO-6. General Craig had paid an official call on 
liim the day before at Chinhae, being most courteously received. And 
after the presentation of medals, President Rhee gave a talk to the 

He confided to Craig afterwards that he would like to confer some 
s °rt of an award on every man in the Brigade for heroic service in Korea. 
This was undoubtedly the inception of the Korean Presidential Unit 
Citation which the Brigade later received from the ROK executive. 

Planning for Inchon Landing 

General Craig, it may be recalled, had insisted that replacements be sent 
to the Brigade. Thanks to his determination, a long column of trucks 
arrived at the Bean Patch with more than 800 Marines just landed at 

Some of the 5th Marines outfits had been so thinned by combat that 
an appeal was made for volunteers from supporting units to serve Tem- 
porarily in rifle companies, with the privilege of returning to their 
'Ormer status after the emergency. The hearty response was a tribute to 
Marine morale as well as Marine basic training which made every man a 
potential rifleman. Engineers, shore party troops and headquarters per- 
sonnel came forward in such numbers that some could not be accepted 
after the arrival of replacements cased the situation. 

No attempt was made at the Bean Patch to form the newcomers into, 
third rifle companies. They were simply used to build up the strength of 
the presenr companies and given intensive unit training. 

Rumors of an impending Marine amphibious operation had already 
Altered down to every PFC, and there were wild speculations as to when 
and where. At least, it could hardly be denied that the Brigade would 

, 1 The offer of Stateside breweries to send free beer to Korea precipitated a controversy 
lri civilian circles. Opponents protested on the grounds that some of the troops were as 
young as 18. Proponents argued that if a man was old enough to fight, he was mature 
enough to drink a can of beer without harm. The issue was never definitely settled, though 
11 resulted in a temporary drougliL. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

soon be taking another voyage; for convoys of trucks left the Bean Patch 
every day laden with heavy supplies and equipment to be unloaded at 
Pusan. ( 

This was once that lower-echelon "scuttlebutt" came close to the. 
mark. In facr, planning for the Inchon landing had already gone so far 
that General Craig sent his chief of staff, G-3 and G-4 to Tokyo 
to confer with staff officers of the 1st Marine Division about the pro- 
jected operation. 4 

Major General Oliver P. Smith, CG of the 1st Marine Division, had 
relieved General Erskine early in July when the latter was sent on a 
secret State Department mission. As the ADC of the Division during 
the fight for Peleliu in 1944, Smirh knew how tough an amphibious op- 
eration can become when it encounters unexpected obstacles. He was 
determined to keep his Division inract with its three infantry regiments, 
the 1st, 5th, and 7th Marines. And after his arrival in Japan with the ad- 
vance party, he returned a firm negative to proposals that the 5th Ma- 
rines and other Brigade troops remain with the Eighth Army. 

It would be putting the case mildly to say that this was the eleventh 
hour. The 1st Marine Division (less the 7th Marines) had landed at 
Kobe from 28 August to 3 September. And though a typhoon caused a 
good deal of damage, little time was lost at the gigantic task of unload- 
ing mixed-type shipping and combat-loading it into assault-type ship- 
ping. The LST's had to be ready to sail for the target area by 10 
September, and the transports by the 12th. 

The Marines at the Bean Patch would have been flattered to knoW 
that they were rhe objecrs of an official tug of war at Tokyo. It was 
maintained by the EUSAK command and staff that Army morale would 
be hurt by taking the Brigade away from rhe Pusan Perimeter at a criti- 
cal moment. On the other hand, General Smith contended that he 
needed the Brigade all the more urgently because the 7th Marines, 5 sail- 
ing belatedly from San Diego, would not be able to reach Inchon until s 
week after the proposed D-day of 15 September 1950. 

The Marine general was informed that the decision would depend 
upon the tactical situation in Korea. On 30 August he sent a dispatch to 
X Corps — the new Army tactical organization activated by CINCFE 
especially for the Inchon operation— requesting that the Brigade be re- 

I Brig SAR. 

* Craig, 23 May 54. 

' Less a battalion making the voyage from the Mediterranean, where it had been afloat 
with the Sixth Fleet. 

Second Naktong 21 1 

leased from its Army commitments on 1 September. In response. Gen- 
ial Mac Arthur issued an order rcsroring the unit to the 1st Marine 
Division on the 4th. 6 

At this point the enemy rudely interrupted by launching an all-our 
offensive against the Pusan Perimeter on 1 Seprember, and General 
MacArthur's order was rescinded. Even though most of the Brigade's 
heavy equipment was at the Pusan docks, waiting for shipping, 
GHQFI ;C decided rhat General Craig's troops should again be used as 
'firemen" to extinguish an NKPA conflagration. 

Colonel Edward H. Forney, the Marine officer recenrly named deputy 
c hief of staff of X Corps, suggested to General Smirh the possibility of 
substituting an Army unit, the 3 2d Infantty of rhe 7th Infantty Divi- 
sion, for rhe 5rh Marines. Smith demurred on the grounds that these 
tr oops had not been trained for amphibious warfare. 

On 3 September, with D-day less than 2 weeks away, a conference was 
"eld in Tokyo to decide the question once and for all. X Corps was rep- 
dented by Ge neral Wright, the G-3, and General Edward S. Almond, 
tri e new commanding general and former chief of staff, GHQFEC, 
COMNAVFE (Admiral Joy), COMSEVENTHFLT (Admiral Struble) 
af id COMPHIBGRUONE (Admiral Doyle) were the Navy officers 
present. General Almond opened the discussion by reiterating that the 
Infantry would be substituted for the 5th Marines. In reply, General 
ttnth mentioned the complications of an amphibious assault landing 
snd urged that the operarions plan be amended if the untrained Army 
re gimenr were to be employed. 

Another solurion, offered by Admiral Struble, was baired with recip- 
rocal concessions. He suggested that the Brigade be employed briefly for 
c °unterattacks in the Pusan Perimetet, but that meanwhile the 32d or 
^°nie other 7th Infantry Division regiment be moved from Japan to 
porea. There it would become a floating reserve for EUSAK, thus re- 
easing the Brigade units to take their former places in the 1st Marine 

'vision for the Inchon operation. This compromise was finally ac- 
cepted, and orders were issued for the Brigade to be withdrawn from 
tl ghth Army control at midnight on 5 September. 

The firsr intimations to reach the troops at the Bean Patch were re- 
c erved on the 1st, at 0810, when the Brigade was alerted for a possible 
move by CG EUSAK to an unknown destination. At 1109 came 
ne warning order for a road lift to the Miryang assembly area. The 

"MCBS, l-II-B-4-6. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

confirmation followed at 1215, with all units being scheduled to move 
out at 1330. 7 

The Marines had another date with destiny. 

Return to the Naktong Bulge 

General Craig set up his CP in the Miryang area at 1800 on 1 Septem- 
ber. Billeting officers, having gone ahead by helicopter, were prepared 
to take care of Brigade units as they arrived. Among them was the 1st 
Battalion of the 11th Marines, which had been returned from 25th Divi- 
sion control to the Brigade. 

The news from the front was depressing. Heavy attacks had been re- 
ceived all day along the 2d and 25th Infantry Division fronts. An enemy 
penetration of 4,000 yards was made at the expense of the 2d Division, 
with the old familiar Naktong Bulge being occupied again by Red 
Koreans who had gained a firm foothold on the east bank of the river. 

This meant that General Craig's men, now under operational control 
of the 2d Division, were likely to revisit some scarred parcels of Korean 
real estate they had hoped never to see again. Major General Lawrence 
B. Keiser, commanding the 2d Division, informed the Brigade com- 
mander that several of his companies had been cut off by enemy ad- 
vances which pushed his lines back almost to Yongsan. 8 There was a 
good deal of NKPA infiltration, he added, in his tear. 

It had been a full day, and at 2230 that night Craig received orders 
from the Eighth Army to move the Brigade at first light to a reserve 
position south of Yongsan and in the rear of the 9th Infantry of the 2d 

At 0630, on 2 September, the 2d Battalion of the 5 th Marines arrived 
at its assigned covering position on the road leading to Yongsan. The 
remainder of the Brigade moved out to assembly positions during the 
day. 9 

Craig proceeded by helicopter at 0830 to the 2d Infantry Division 
headquarters for a conference with Keiser to plan the move of the Bri- 
gade into his lines. Afterwards, the Marine general devoted the rest of 
the morning to reconnaissance of the terrain by helicopter. On the way 

' Brig SAR. 

8 Craig, 23 May 54. 

" Brig SAR. 


he stopped at Lieutenant Cole 
5 th Marines units were well es 

The planning conference for tl 
in the 2d Infantry Division CP. 
assistant G-3, Major Frank R. St 
yet returned from the 1st Marii 
Keiser and his staff officers em] 
the 2d Division sector. They wai 
very afternoon on a widely ex) 

As for the time element, he pi 
of his units were not even in th 
still detraining or in trucks. Sm 
visibility that planes could nc 
TACRON had not atrived and 
carriers. He did not wish to com 
port; and in the end the Arm) 
advisability of the Marines attacl 

Next came a discussion as to 
Craig cited the risks and disadvai 
He suggested that the 2d Infantr 
and allow him to attack in such 
Keiser and his staff assented, anc 
Brigade CP. 

All-Out 1 

Glancing at the big picture, th 
was making an all-out effort to si 
in August it became evident tha 
in the early morning hours of 1 
attack remained in doubt until tl 
bid for a breakthrough in the N 
Pusan-Taegu lifeline. 

Despite heavy casualties of the 
was estimated as high as 133,00 

10 Craig, 23 May 54. 
305713 O-F-55 15 

Second Naktang 


he stopped at Lieutenant Colonel Murray's CP and learned that the 
5th Marines unirs were well established along the road leading to the 

. The planning conference for rhe projected counterattack began at 1430 
1(1 the 2d Infantry Division CP. General Craig was accompanied by his 
assistant G-3, Major Frank R. Srewarr, Jr., since his regular G-3 had not 
Kt returned from the 1st Marine Division briefing at Tokyo. General 
Keiser and his staff officers emphasized the gravity of rhe situation in 
f he 2d Division sector. They wanred General Craig ro counrerartack that 

. Vc fy afternoon on a widely extended front, but he objected on both 

* counts. 

As for the time element, he pointed out that the hour was late. Some 
; °f his units were not even in their assembly positions, and others were 

s till derraining or in trucks. Smoke and haze had resulted in such low 
\ ^'sibility that planes could not operate effectively. Finally, Craig's 
( MACRON had not arrived and he was out of touch with the aircraft 

C;ir riers. He did not wish to commit his force piecemeal without air sup- 

Porr; and in rhe end the Army staff officers agreed with him on the 
j ^visability of the Marines attacking in the morning. 10 
1 Next came a discussion as to the nature of the Marine countera track. 

cited the risks and disadvantages of advancing on too wide a front, 
j e suggested that the 2d Infantry Division specify the Marine objecrives 

a nd allow him to attack in such formarions as he deemed mosr effective. 

Reiser and his staff assented, and the Marine officers hurried back to the 
( Brigade CP. 


All-Out NKPA Offensive 

, ^lancing at the big picture, there could be no doubt that the enemy 
i ^as making an all-out effort to smash through the Pusan Perimeter. La re 
[u August it became evident that he was massing troops. The blow fell 
ln the early morning hours of 1 September. The direction of the main 
attack remained in doubt until that afternoon, when it was revealed as a 
"id for a breakthrough in the Naktong Bulge which would expose the 
^usan-Taegu lifeline. 

Despite heavy casualties of the past 2 months, NKPA overall strength 
^as estimated as high as 133,000 men as the result of filling rhe ranks 

"' Craig, 23 May 54. 
30J7B O-F-55 — 15 

The Pusan Perimeter 

with hastily trained replacements. Thirteen infantry regiments, 3 security 
regimenrs and the remnants of the original 3 armored regiments were 
believed to be participating in the offensive. 11 

For 2 months the Eighth Army had been purchasing time with space, 
and the enemy realized thar rime was now fighting on the side of the 
United Nations. The first ground force unit sent by a member nation to 
reinforce Unired Srates and ROK troops was the British 27th Infantry 
Brigade, which landed and took over a sector early in September. But the 
enemy knew that other UN conringents had been promised. 

The reorganized ROK army, moreover, had recovered from its early 
disasrers and was giving a good accounr of itself in rhe northern secrors 
of rhe Pusan Perimeter. There the 1st, 3d, 6th, 8th, and Capital Divi- 
sions had not only maintained their ractical integrity throughout August 
but even delivered several counterattacks. 12 

The NKPA numerical superiority, in shorr, could nor lasr much 
longer. It was now or never if the invaders hoped to batter their way to 
Pusan, and Pyongyang staked everything on a final offensive. 

The brunt fell upon the United States 2d Infantry Division. Troops 
from four enemy divisions were identified on this sensitive front, well 
supported by armor and artillery. Within a few hours pressure became 
so grear that EUSAK decided to send the Marine mobile reserve to the 
aid of the Army troops. 

Not only was the terrain familiar to Marines who had fought theif 
way up Obong-ni Ridge, but they were renewing acquaintance with the 
same enemy outfit. For G-2 reporrs confirmed that the NKPA 4th 
Infantry Division was back again at the old stand — or at least such 
survivors as had emerged with a whole skin from rheir defeat of 17-18 
August in this area. 

Perhaps because of the large numbers of new recruirs filling the ranks, 
the retreaded outfit followed in reserve just behind the NKPA 9th 
Infantry Division as it crossed the Naktong and drove eastward. The 9th 
was one of the enemy units hastily raised from consrabulary forces for 
purposes of the invasion. Assigned to guard duty at Seoul throughout 
July and half of August, the troops devored themselves wholeheartedly 
to the pleasant mission of forcing South Koreans to "volunteer" aS 
soldiers or laborers against their own people. Thus the division could be 

11 Maj H, D. Stewart, "Rise and Fall of an Army," Military Review, 30, no. 11:32-35 
(Feb 51). 

13 U. S. Dept of State, "Fifth Report to the Security Council, October 5, 1950," U*km 
Na lions Action in Korea under U taped Command (Washington: GPO, 1950). 

Second Naktong 215 

considered a fresh and rested outfit, though deficient in training and 
combat discipline as compared to the older NKPA units. 

Troops from the enemy's 2d and 10th Divisions were also identified 
on the front of the United States 2d Infantry Division, but the Marines 
had no contacts with these units. 13 

The Marines Jump Off 

General Keiser's operational directive for the 3 September counterattack 
was half a page in length. As in the case of the first Naktong counter- 
Stroke, the Marine brigade was placed opposite the center of the Bulge, 
with the mission of driving westward "to restore former 9th Infantry 
positions." This time, however, Craig's force was scheduled to jump off 
f miles east of Observation Hill; for the North Koreans were knocking 
at the gates of Yongsan. 

The Brigade's line of departure was a long north-south ridgeline about 
a thousand yards west of Yongsan and directly south of Myong-ni. This 
high ground was occupied on 2 September by the 9th Infantry. When 
the Marines passed thtough the next morning, the Army unit was to 
swing northward to attack on the Brigade right. Still farther north, the 
2 3d Infantty had orders to hold positions on the right of the 9th and 
Maintain contact with friendly units by patrolling. 14 

On the Brigade's left, a special task force of the Army's 72d Tank Bat- 
talion and 2d Engineer Battalion was to attack southward from Il-li to 
the Naktong River line below the Bulge. There ir would link with the 
2 5th Division's right. 

The fact that the Communists upset the plan by smashing through 
the 9th Infantry lines on the night of 2-3 September was both bad and 
good news from the standpoint of the Marines. It was bad because an 
overextended friendly unit had been shattered by many times its num- 
bers and forced into a disorganized withdrawal. It was good because the 
enemy was plowing ahead at full steam, obviously unaware that he was 
shortly due for a blow that would find him off balance and send him 

Low hanging clouds and smoke made for poor visibility on the morn- 
"ig of rhe 3d when General Craig set out on his customary prebattle 

11 Ibid. 

14 2d InfDiv Op Dir, 2 Sep 50; and Brig Op Order 19-50. 

216 The Pusan Perimeter 

reconnaissance by helicopter. He was accompanied by Lieutenant Colo- 
nel Stewart, who had just returned from the 1st Marine Division 
planning conferences at Tokyo. 

"We couldn't see anything but an occasional mountain peak," Craig 
recalled at a later date. "After flying around for some time, we had 
almost decided ro return to the CP and complete the tour by jeep. Then 
Colonel Stewart noticed a hole in the clouds, and we dropped to an 
altitude where we had a good view of the front." 15 

What Craig and Stewart saw was a long column of Marines fighting 
their way toward the line of departure. 

Lieutenant Colonel Mutray's plan of attack for the 5th Marines called 
for the 1st and 2d Battalions to advance westward astride the Yongsan 
road, with 2/5 on the right. Taplett's 3d Battalion would initially be if) 
reserve, blocking the southern approaches to Yongsan. 16 

At 0450, 3 September, 2/5 detrucked about 800 yards from Yongsan 
and marched forward in a route column. Moving into the town a short 
time later, the Marines received small arms fire from snipers hidden if 1 
buildings, ditches and culverts. Most of them were liquidated as the 
column pushed through to the road junction at the western end of 
Yongsan by 0630. 17 

At this fork a secondary route branches from the main road through 
the large village of Myong-ni, about 2,000 yards northwest of Yongsan, 

Although still 1,000 yards from the designated line of departure, the 
2d Battalion came under moderate fire from its right front, Moreover, 
dawn had broughr indications of considerable activity and confusion 
ahead of the Marines. Ignoring the fire, Roise went forward abour 500 
yards to a low hill lying athwart the MSR. There he was jolred by the 
discovery that the 9th Infantry's lines had collapsed. 1 * 

On the right of the toad there was no friendly situation worthy of the 
name. To the left of the MSR, an Army tank unit was parked behind the 
little hill which Roise had reached, and to the front were 4 of its tanks— 
2 destroyed and 2 abandoned. Included in the wreckage ahead were 2 
burned-out NKPA T-34's. 

Three hundred yards to the west, on the high ground sourh of the 
main road, Army troops were retreating from 1/5's line of departure. 
The soldiers had buckled under an onslaught by the NKPA 9th Divi- 

11 Craig, 23 May 54. 
Ift Annex How. 
» Ibid. 
" Ibid. 

Second Naktong 


sion, which had launched an all-out attack at first light. 11 ' 

Having observed evidence of the confusing situation from their heli- 
copter, Craig and Stewart landed some distance behind Yongsan and 
proceeded forward by jeep and foot. The Brigade commander located 
1/3's CP south of Yongsan and discovered that the battalion was slightly 
out of position. During 2/5's delay in moving through the city, Murray 
had ordered Newton to swing westward and align his unit for the attack 
as best he could. Darkness, coupled with confusion caused by the Army's 
withdrawal and 2/5's fight, had caused the 1st Battalion to move south 
°f Chukchon-ni instead of Yongsan, as planned. Craig instructed 1/5's 
commander to make a 500-yard correction northward during the actual 
attack. 20 

Roise was meanwhile taking the situation in hand north of the MSR. 
At 0645 he called Marine tanks forward to cover the withdrawal of 9th 
infantry troops from the high ridge in 1/5's zone. 

Second Lieutenant Robert M. Winter led his platoon of M-26's into 
hull defilade next to 2/5's OP on the low hill and unleashed overhead 
fire in support of the Army troops. The pursuit by the North Koreans 
be gan to lag. 

Progress of Brigade Attack 

Respite enemy artillery fire in the 2d Battalion zone, Companies D and 
E jumped off from the road junction at 0715 to clear the Yongsan- 
Myong-ni road and secure the 5th Marines' right flank.' 1 

While this move was in progress, the last of the 9th Infantry troops 
vacated 1/5's line of departure to the left front. Roise immediately 
smothered that ridge! ine with fire from Marine tanks, artillery, air, mor- 
tars, and machineguns. 

Despite this blanket of steel, enemy guns from the high ground were 
able to fire across the MSR at Company E as it cleared a scries of hills 
Mow Myong-ni. These hills had been designated 2/5's line of departure 
the previous day, bur now were considered part of the first objective. 

At 0800, when Captain Samuel Jaskilka reported that Easy Company 
]l ad completed its mission, Roise ordered Company D to push through 
%ong-ni and rake the hill just northwest of that village, 

10 Craig, 23 May 54 (with comments by LtCol M, R. Olson, 17 Jun 54). 
21 This section is derived from: Brig SAB.; Muetzel, 5-6 Jan 50 (with comments by 
C °l G. R. Newton, Maj J. R. Stevens, and Capt G. C. Fox); and Craig, 23 May 54. 

Second Naktong 


By this time the entire Brigade was shifting into high gear. Winter's 
tanks on the little hill straddling the MSR were joined by the 1st Pla- 
toon, Able Company Engineers. The Army armored unit behind the 
southern portion of rhe hill suddenly went into hull defilade and added 
its firepower to that of the Marine M-26's. Craig, Snedekcr and Srewart 
crawled to the crest of the hill on the right side of the MSR and studied 
the from from positions between the Marine tanks and Roise's OP. 

The NKPA 9th Division had been stopped in its tracks when the 
Brigade's supporting arms connected. Then the Reds concentrated rheir 
fire on rhe little hill where Craig's OP was located. Lieurcnant Winter 
was shot through the neck and one of his men wounded while aiding 
him. Before being evacuated, rhe painfully wounded tank olficer offered 
General Craig a bottle of whiskey left in his M-26. 

Chaplains Sporrer and Hickey were taken under machinegun fire as 
they walked forward on the MSR toward the hill. "It's lucky they're poor 
shots," said Sporrer as a second and third burst cracked over his head. 
The rwo chaplains arrived just in time to administer to the wounded 
being carried off the hill by the engineers. 

At 0855, the 1st Battalion jumped off from below Chukchon-ni. The 
attack having been launched too far to the south, Companies A and B 
had to veer northwest as they advanced toward rhe enemy-held ridge 
1,000 yards away. Fenton's unit was on the right, gradually closing on 
the MSR as it moved forward. 

To the south, Stevens deployed his 1st, 2d, and 3d Platoons from right 
to left in that order, the latter being slightly withheld to protect the 
open left flank. 

As the men of 1/5 waded into the knee-deep muck of the rice paddy, 
they came under long-range small-arms fire from their objective. New- 
ton countered immediately by plastering the ridge with artillery and 
mortar fire. The advance conrinued and only a few casualties were taken 
by the time the companies reached a drainage ditch midway across the 
rice paddy. Here the long skirmish line paused to check its direction and 
place the wounded on dikes where they would be seen by corpsmen. 

During rhe advance from rhe drainage ditch to the base of the ridge, 
1/5's commander frequently called on air, artillery and mortars to blast 
enemy automatic weapons on the crest and forward slopes of the objec- 
tive. Company A had the added support of an Army tank destroyer 
which gave overhead fire from rhe hill south of Chukchon-ni. On one 
occasion Marine 75's joined with the Army weapon to silence Commu- 
nist guns in a small village at the base of the ridge. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Throughout the- rice-paddy crossing, the Marines were constantly 
meeting Army stragglers, some of whom had been isolated in enemy 
territory for as long as three days. Most of the soldiers were wounded, 
and all were weaponless and near exhaustion. 

At 1100 Fenton and Stevens radioed Newton that they were ready for 
the assault, and the battalion commander immediately showered rhe 
objective with 81-mm. mortar fire to smother North Korean machine- 

Beyond the edge of the rice paddy in Company A's zone, a sharp step 
led to the gentle incline at the base of the ridge. After a few yards, the 
gradual slope gave way to a steep rise which shot up abruptly to the 
crest of the high hill. 

Lieutenant Muerzel's 2d Platoon held up at the step, using its protec- 
tion against enemy fire while 1/5's mortar barrage was falling. During 
the pause Technical Setgeant McMullen brought the 1st Platoon into 
position on Muetzel's right and Lieutenant Fox aligned his 3d Platoon 
on the left. 

As soon as the supporting fire lifred, Muetzel jumped to his feet and 
shouted the command to assault. Every man in Company A's skirmish 
line responded by scrambling up the hillside. The Marines made such a 
fearful racket that a whole company of alarmed North Koreans suddenly 
jumped up from concealed foxholes on the forward slope and fled toward 
the summit. 

The panic-stricken Reds were easy targets for Company A's riflemen 
and BAR men. Halting on the gentle incline, the Marines carefully took 
aim and killed most of the enemy soldiers. When the Communist sur- 
vivors disappeared over the crest, Company A again surged upward and 
within minutes carried the summit. 

The 1st Battalion secured its initial objective about noon on 3 Septem- 
ber. Company B's next target was a continuation of the ridge running 
parallel to the MSR for 1,000 yards and topped by 4 conspicuous peaks. 
Able Company's second objective was a hill stretching across its front 
beyond a 200-yard valley. This hill was connected to Stevens' first objec- 
tive by a narrow razorback ridge on the right which offered a poor route 
of approach. 13 

» Ibid. 

Second Naktong 


The two companies paused on their newly won positions to reorgan- 
ize, evacuate wounded, and wait for a resupply of ammunirion. There 
they came under heavy fire from the reverse slopes of their first objective 
and the high ground to the west. Several casualties were taken before 
Corsairs, requested by Ncwron, appeared for an air strike. As the Marine 
fighter planes unloaded their ordnance, large groups of enemy broke. 
Most of the Reds fled down the norrhern slopes, crossed the MSR and 
ascended Hill 117 in 2/5's zone. 

Newton reacted to reports of the rout by throwing heavy artillery fire 
across the enemy's avenues of retreat. The hillsides and road were soon 
littered with bodies and equipment. 

While 1/5 's attack on its first objective was in progress, Company D 
had secured rhe 5rh Marines' right flank by clearing Myong-ni of mod- 
erate resistance and seizing the hili to the norrhwesr of rhe large village. 
The new company commander, First Lieutenant H.J. Smith, reporred 
to Roise that he was receiving considerable machinegun and mortar fire 
from Hill 117. This high ground lay directly across 2/5's front, stretch- 
ing norrhward from rhe MSR to a point about 500 yards west of Myong-ni. 

Smith's reporrs, together with the news of the enemy's withdrawal to 
Hill 117 from l/5's zone, led Roise to order Company D ro artack the 
high ground from the north and cut off the North Korean retreat. 
Shortly after 1200, Smith's company jumped off to the southwest from 
its positions above Myong-ni and fought across the rice paddies circling 
the objective. 

Company E could not advance from the chain of hills won earlier in 
the day because of enemy troops along the high ridge in Baker Com- 
pany's zone south of the MSR. But Jaskilka's men supported the attack 
on 117 by fire. 

A platoon of 75's from First Lieutenant Almarion S, Bailey's Anti- 
Tank Company, taking positions on Jaskilka's right, quickly knocked 
out an enemy gun on the objective. The Communists answered with 
85 -mm. fire from a concealed T-34 tank, killing 2 and wounding 7 of the 
recoilless rifle crews. 

Company D gained a foothold on one of Hill 117's spurs against light 
tesistance. As the unit advanced south toward the crest, however, enemy 
troops pouring across the MSR from 1/5 's zone had boosted the ranks of 
the defenders to approximarely two battalions. Smith's company was 
caught in its isolated position 500 yards from the rest of 2/5 and blasted 
by Norrh Korean artillery, mortars, and automatic weapons. Casualties 
mounted at such a staggering rate that the Marines were hard put to 


The Pusan 

retain their foothold on the northern rip of rhe hiU. 

While the 2d Battalion was maneuvering and fighting on the righr of 
the road, the 2d Platoon of tanks pushed westward along the MSR from 
its early morning position 500 yards west of Yongsan. The Brigade armor 
became heavily engaged with enemy antitank weapons, and several casu- 
alties were taken as Marines exposed themselves from unbuttoned 
M-26's to spot Communist emplacements. Second Lieutenant John S. 
Carson, who had taken over the platoon after Winter was wounded, fell 
before enemy machinegun fire and died instantly. 

Going into hull defilade on another low hill overlooking rhe MSR, 
rhe 2d Plaroon surprised three T-34 tanks on the road ahead and quickly 
destroyed them with 90-mm. fire. The tankmen then turned their guns 
on a wealth of targets spread across rhe fronr: Red antitank weapons, 
machinegun positions, troop concenrrarions, and groups either retreating 
or attempting to reinforce. 

Abour noon, Second Lieurenanr Sweer's 3d Plaroon joined rhe 2d and 
added its firepower to rhe fusillade, Anorher T-34 was knocked out when 
Sweer's men blasted a thicket suspected of concealing an antitank gun. 
A fifth North Korean tank went out of action when it was abandoned 
by its crew on the left side of the road. 

In the afternoon of 3 September, enemy resisrance across 1/5's front 
weakened proportionately as tr grew stronger in the 2d Battalion zone. 
Newton launched his attack on Objective Two at 1510, after MAG-33 
and 1/11 had softened up the North Korean positions." 

Company B drove down the ridgeline paralleling the MSR and in 
little more than an hour had seized its part of the objective, a peak 
directly across the road from Hill 117. During the 1,000-yard advance, 
Fenton reported another large group of enemy fleeing to 2/5 's zone. The 
information was quickly relayed to Roise, who had ample reason by this 
time to curse the fortunes of war. 

In Company A's zone, Stevens and his platoon leaders worked out a 
classic scheme of maneuver for seizing HiU 91, their part of the battalion 
objective. McMullen's 1st Platoon and the company machineguns were 
to remain in position as the base of fire, while Muetzel's 2d Platoon 
feinted across the 200-yard valley to the front. Fox's 3d Platoon, ear- 
marked for the main effort, would then circle to rhe south and flank the 
enemy's right. 

Muetzel's unit jumped off with Company B at 1510, crossed the low 

i! Ibid. 

The Pusan Permieter 

ground, and ascended a draw leading to Hill 91. The Marines miscalcu- 
lated, however, and climbed too far up the slope, so that they came 
within grenade range of the crest and were pinned down by machincgun 
fire. The platoon was split, with Muetzel and two squads on the left of 
the draw and Corporal Raymond E. Stephens and his squad on the right. 

During the preparatory artillery barrage, Fox had led his platoon 
around to the enemy's right flank, concealed en route by a rice- paddy 
bank. Not knowing when the supporting fire would lift, he withheld 
his squads from an assault line by a wide safety margin. Thus when 
the artillery ceased, the North Koreans had rime to come out of their 
holes and hit the envelopment with small arms fire. Fox was wounded, 
and command passed to Technical Setgeant Geotge W. Bolkow who 
worked the platoon up into the enemy positions. 

The 3d Platoon's assault was sparked by Corporal Virgil W. Hender- 
son and his 3d Squad, who worked to the rear of a troublesome machine- 
gun position and destroyed it. During rhe attack Henderson was 
painfully wounded in the jaw by a Communist bullet. 

Since both forward platoons had SCR 300 radios, Muetzel heard the 
report that Fox was wounded. Concluding that the envelopment had 
failed, the 2d Platoon leader requested and received permission to make 
a frontal assault on Hill 91 from his position on the forward slopes. 
Enemy mortar fire had added to the woes of Muetzel's diversionary 
thrust. And though an OY-2 of VMO-6 had given information leading 
to the destruction of the mortat position, the beleaguered platoon leader 
sought the relative safety of a frontal assault. 

Cotporal Stephens, acting on his own initiative across the draw, had 
worked his squad up to the razorback ridge and around the enemy's left 
flank. Thus the hapless North Koreans on Hill 91 were hit by a "triple 
envelopment" when Stephens struck from the north, Muetzel from the 
east and Bolkow from the south. 

Company A reported its objective seized at 1630, and Newton ordered 
Stevens and Fen ton to dig in for the night. 

Both Roise and Newton were confronted by serious space factors on 
the night of $-4 September. The 2d Battalion's front was more than 
2,000 yards long and formed a righr angle. A gap of 500 yards stretched 
between Company D's precarious position on the northern tip of Hill 
117 and Easy Company's lines below Myong-nt. This left Smith's 
depleted unit isolated and Jaskilka's right dangling. 

The 1st Battalion's right flank was exposed more than 1,000 yards 
along the MSR; and its front was almost a mile in length, with a 200- 

Second Naktong 


yard valley separating the two rifle companies. The Brigade Reconnais- 
sance Company was deployed on high ground far out on Newton's left 
flank, but this was hardly ample protection for the many avenues of 
approach in the south. 

Exhibiting his characteristic faith in high explosives, Newton called 
on the 1st Platoon, Able Company Engineers, to contribute their sundry 
lethal devices to 1/5's infantry defense. Beginning at 1800, 3 September, 
one group of engineers fanned out to the front and right flank of Com- 
pany B's lines. Despite fire from Hi!l 117 and enemy positions to the 
west, the demolitions men strung out dozens of antipersonnel mines, 
hand grenades, and blocks of TNT wrapped with 60-penny spikes. Be- 
fore darkness set in, Baker Company's forward slopes had the potential 
of an active volcano. 

In Company A's zone, Technical Sergeant David N. Duncan and Ser- 
geant Bryan K. White led the other half of the engineer platoon in 
laying a similar field of obstacles. Duncan crowned his handiwork with 
a 40-pound shaped charge hooked up in a gully wirh a trip wire. 

Staff Sergeant Saweren J. Dennis and his 2d Squad of engineers crept 
forward at midnight 1,000 yards on the MSR and laid an antitank mine- 
field across the road near the southern tip of Hill 117. On the way 
Dennis discovered an enemy antitank minefield embedded in the road. 
Although the engineers had never seen a Russian wooden-box mine be- 
fore, knowledge gained from the study of intelligence manuals during 
the Brigade's sea voyage enabled them to detect, remove, and disarm 
every mine in the field during darkness. 'The work was delayed a few 
minutes when Dennis traced a clanking sound to the roadside ditch and 
killed a Communist soldier frantically trying to insert a loaded magazine 
into his submachine-gun. 

Before the engineers completed their work and retired to 1/5's lines, 
Nature added an obstacle of her own to any enemy plans for a counter- 
attack. A rainstorm broke, and the heavy downpour, accompanied by 
unseasonably icy winds, wrought misery on friend and foe alike for the 
rest of the night. 

Mission Completed 

Collapse of the 9 th NKPA Division— Attacks of 5 September— Tm 
Marine Tanks Killed— The Brigade's Final Action— Brigade 
Embarkation at Pusan— Results of Brigade Operations— Summaries 

and Conclusions 

THE CASUALTIES OF 2/5 for 3 September totaled 18 dead and 77 
wounded, most of them being taken by Company D. Lieutenant 
Colonel Murray ordered the 3d Battalion to pass through the 2d, there- 
fore, and continue the attack on the right of the MSR at 0800 the next 
morning. The 1st Battalion was to resume its advance south of the MSR, 
while the Reconnaissance Company far out on the left would move 
forward to a new blocking position.' 

Shortly after dawn on the 4th, the 1st Platoon of engineers went 
forward and removed the mines ahead of 1/5's positions. Preparatory 
fires by 1/11 at 0750 routed a group of enemy on the peak on Baker 
Company's front, and the Marine riflemen had a field day as the Reds 
threw away their weapons and pelted westward. 

Companies A and B jumped off at 0800 and advanced rapidly over the 
high ground south of the MSR against negligible resistance. The at- 
tackers frequently observed small groups of enemy fleeing in all direc- 
tions, and many of the Communists were cut down by Brigade air, artil- 
lery, and armor. Twelve prisoners were captuted before 1/5 reached its 
half of Brigade Objective One at 1505. This was the high ground south 
of the MSR at Kang-ni, over 3,000 yards from the line of departure. 

Shortly after 0800, 3/5 had launched a two-pronged assault against 
Hill 117, core of the NKPA 9th Division's resistance the previous day. 
Company G advanced through Easy Company's lines just above the 
MSR and pushed across the intervening rice paddies. The Marines 

1 This section is derived from: Brig SAR 3d Bn, 5th Marines (3/5) SAR, 1-6 Sep 50; 
Craig, 23 May 54; and Taplett, 20 Apr 54, 




The Pusan Perimeter 

charged over a small knoll in their path but found the enemy positions 
unoccupied except for several dead. Bohn quickly led the company to 
the southern slopes of Hili 117, which was strangely quiet by compari- 
son with the tumult of the ptevious day. In capturing the southern half 
of the hill, Company G killed only 15 North Koreans. 

Simultaneously with Bohn's advance, Company H swung wide to the 
right and passed through the thin ranks of Dog Company on rhe north- 
ern tip of Hill 117. The attackers drove south against negligible resist- 
ance and quickly linked with Company G, securing the objective at 0840. 

A connecting road runs from Myong-ni to the MSR, tracing the 
eastern base of Hill 117. Since engineers on the previous night had lo- 
cated the enemy minefield east of the junction on the main road, Taplett 
moved his headquarters to the MSR via the connecting road. The lead 
vehicle, a personnel carrier loaded with communications men, struck a 
Communist mine on the secondary route east of the newly captured ob- 
jective. The resulting explosion caused 10 casualties. 

By noon the engineers had cleared the road of several Russian-rype 
mines identical to those found during the night. The two anci-vehicular 
minefields were among the first such obstacles encountered by the UN 
forces in the Korean conflict. 

After seizing Hill 117, Companies G and H continued the attack west- 
ward by advancing abreast on the high ground north of the MSR. Con- 
tact with 1/5 on the left was maintained, but the 9th Infantry on the 
right soon fell behind and disappeared from sight. 

At 1045 Company G ran into machinegun fire coming from the 3/5 
area of the Brigade objective, the hill north of Kang-nL Taplett blasted 
the hill with Marine air and artillery, and the North Koreans were in 
full retreat within an hour. MAG-33 and 1/11 rained death on the 
retreating Reds and continued to pound the hill preparatory to an 
assault by Company G. Bohn led his troops forward and secured the 
objective at 1515. 

Looking across the stream bed ro the north of their new positions, the 
Marines of George Company spotted enemy infantry escorting a T-34 
tank and withdrawing into the 9th Infantry zone. The Communist 
column was quickly dispersed by machinegun fire. 

Collapse of NKPA 9th Division 

Marines following up the 3,000-yard advance along rhe MSR saw a 
picture of devastation unequalled even by the earlier defeat of the NKPA 

Mission Completed 


4th Division. Hundreds of enemy dead were strewn along the road, hill- 
sides and ridgelines. On the MSR between Hill 117 and Kang-ni lay a 
long column of North Koreans who had been caught by Marine air and 
artillery while attempting to reinforce Red lines. The dead leader was a 
lieutenant colonel whose briefcase contained a lengthy artillery treatise 
among other less scholarly documents.- 

In addition to knocked-out and abandoned Communist tanks, vehicles, 
mortars, and antitank guns, the countryside was littered with enough 
small arms, ammunition, and gear to equip several hundred men. Even 
the Notth Korean paymaster had been caught in the sweeping tide of 
Brigade arms, and Marines distributed a huge quantity of worthless 
currency among themselves. 

Not only did the Marines reap a harvest of enemy materiel; rhey also 
recaptured a great quantity of United States Atmy equipment lost dur- 
ing the Communist drive. American tanks, artillery pieces, mortars, 
vehicles, small arms, and ammunition and supply dumps were turned 
over to the 2d Division by the Brigade. 

The destruction of the enemy camp left Army and Marine intelligence 
officers inundated by captured enemy documents. Muster rolls, ledgers, 
maps, orders, textbooks, and propaganda material were heaped into 
separate piles. 

Late in the afternoon of 4 September, the 9th Infantry moved into 
positions on the high ground northeast of 3/5. This completed the ad- 
vance to Phase Line One of the 2d Division's counterattack plan. The 
second phase line on G-3 maps was drawn through Hill 125 and 
Observation Hill, 3,000 yards west of Kang-ni. 

When informed that the Brigade had completed the first part of its 
mission, General Keiser aurhorized General Craig to advance toward 
Phase Line Two. 

Beyond Kang-ni, the Brigade's right boundary became the MSR, so 
that 3/5 could not advance westward from its half of Objective One. 
Major Chatles H. Brush, Murray's S-3, radioed Newron and passed on 
orders for the battalion commander to take the next piece of high 
ground, Cloverleaf Hill, just south of the MSR at Hwayong-ni, about a 
thousand yards away. 

The 1st Battalion struck out through the intervening rice paddy, 
Company A on the left and Baker Company just below the MSR. 
Fen ton's unit had hardly begun the advance when it was stopped by 

2 Ibid. 

10571} O-F-55 — 16 


The Pusan Perimeter 

heavy machinegun fire coming from the high ground north of Hwa- 
yong-ni. Newton then called for an air strike on the ridge and also 
requested 3/5 to keep it covered with supporting fire during Company 
B's attack. 

Enemy resistance evaporated with accustomed rapidity, and the Ma- 
rines reported Cloverleaf Hill secure at 1800. Murray then ordered both 
front line battalions to establish night defenses and be prepared to con- 
tinue the attack at 0800, 5 September. 

The extent and trace of the Brigade front line on the night of 4-5 
September was almost identical to that of 24 houts before. Again New- 
ton's battalion was in front on the left by a good 1,000 yards, and Com- 
panies A and B were stretched across a line almost a mile long, with the 
left flank wide open. 

Separated from both 1/5 on the left and the 9th Infantry on the right, 
the 3d Battalion established a perimerer defense, even though it was in 
the center of the counterattack zone. 

There was considerable tension and excitement after darkness on 4 
September, although the Brigade lines were never seriously threatened. 
The engineers were busy in 1/5's zone until after midnight, creeping to 
the front and flanks to lay mines. The 3d Battalion was shelled heavily 
throughout the night, and 1/5's CP took direct hits killing 1 Marine and 
wounding 2 others. One of the wounded was Second Lieutenant James 
R. Young, Newton's Assistant S-3. The artillery liaison officer, First 
Lieutenant Joris J. Snyder, was knocked unconscious for several hours, 
though he received not a scratch from the 120-mm. explosion a few 
yards away. 

At 0230 night-fighter planes of Major Joseph H. Reinburg's 
VMF(N)-513 bombed the North Korean mortar position causing most 
of the damage, and the shelling slackened appreciably. Completing this 
mission, the Marine pilots dumped general purpose and fragmentation 
bombs on enemy vehicles and troops in the area. 5 

Companies G and H reported movement forward of their lines before 
dawn, and 3/5's 81 -mm. mortars quickly illuminated the front, disclos- 
ing several small groups of enemy. There was a flurry of fire, but the 
Reds gave no indication of organizing for an assault. One of the groups, 
either by error or suicidal folly, stumbled into the area of Taplett's CP. 
A listening post of Weapons Company took the intruders under fire, 
killing an NKPA officer and routing the others. 

' VMF(N)-513 SAR, Appendix 6, 16. 

Mission Completed 


Attacks of 5 September 

Marines of the 3d Battalion were startled at daybreak, 5 September, 
when a company of North Koreans attacked the 9th Infantry's left flank 
in full view of 3/5's positions on the adjacent high ground, George, 
How, and H & S Companies poured machinegun fire into the mass of 
Reds at ranges of 600-1,000 yards. Most of the Red attackers were cut 
down before rhey could flee into the hills west of the Army lines. 4 

Company B, on its high ground south of Hwayong-ni, heard the fir- 
ing in 3/5's area at daybreak and steeled itself for a possible counterat- 
tack from the righr flank. When Newton received word of the abortive - 
attack on the 9th Infantty, he ordered his two rifle companies to pre- 
pare to move out at 0800 as planned. 

The Marines of Companies A and B were organizing their attack for- 
mation on Cloverleaf Hill when two Air Force P-51's came in for an 
uncontrolled air strike on the high ground north of Hwayong-ni, Straf- 
ing the ridge from north to south, the planes riddled Cloverleaf Hill as 
they pulled out of their dives. The 2 exposed companies were showered 
with bullets, and it seemed miraculous that only 1 Marine was wounded. 

At 0820, 1/5 jumped off to the west to seize the Btigade's portion of 
Phase Line Two— Hill 125 and Observation Hill. Beyond these hills lay 
Obong-ni Ridge, blocking the path to the Naktong River, third and 
final phase line of the 2d Division counterattack. Because of its tactical 
importance and great significance, battle-scarred Obong-ni was desig- 
nated a special objective, apart from the phase lines. 

Half a mile west of Hwayong-ni the MSR makes a tight-angle turn 
to the south, proceeds in that direction for 1,000 yards, then resumes its 
westward course through the cut between Hill 125 and Observation 

Companies A and B, with the latter on the right, moved rapidly 
through the rice paddy below the MSR after leaving their line of de- 
parture on Cloverleaf Hill. At the road bend mentioned above, the MSR 
turned across Baker Company's front. When Fen ton's unit crossed over 
to the base of the high ground leading ro Hill 125, Companies A and B 
were separated by the MSR as it resumed its westward course. Stevens' 
Unit started up the long eastern slopes of Observation Hill, while Fen- 
ton's men secured the eastern extension of Hill 125. 

Obong-ni Ridge rumbled its first greeting ro 1/5 at 0935 when 

"•This section is derived from: Annex How; 3/5 SAR, 1-6 Sep 50; Taplett, 20 Apt 54; 
and Fenton, 8 May 54, 

Mission Completed 

mortars and artillery fired at the Marine attackers from emplacements 
around the hill. The Reds were answered immediarely by 1/11 and 
Newton's 81 -mm. mortar platoon; and the rifle companies continued 
the advance to Phase Line Two, securing their objecrives at 1100. 

Murray ordered 1/5 to hold up until the 9th Infantry tied in on Fen- 
ton's right. Communist automatic weapons on Obong-ni Ridge fired on 
rhe Marines sporadically during this interlude. 

At 1000, while 1/5 was attacking to the west, the 3d Battalion had 
swung southward behind Cloverleaf Hill to take positions on the 5th 
Marines' left. This was in preparation for Murray's contemplated assault 
on Obong-ni Ridge by two battalions. It was planned that Newton's 
unit would take the norrhern half of the long hill and 3/5 the southern 

Company G led the 3d Battalion advance through the rice paddy 
south of Cloverleaf Hill. Artillery and 75-mm. recoilless guns paved rhe 
way by raking possible enemy hiding places, enabling the infantrymen 
to proceed rapidly. Bohn's destination was Hill 91, a shoe-like projec- 
tion jutting out from the southern reaches of Obong-ni Ridge. Reach- 
ing the base of the high ground, Bohn requested that supporting fires 
be lifted. Attached tanks, 75's, and 1/11 immediately shifted their de- 
struction to Obong-ni Ridge. 

Company G started up the slopes of Hill 91, while an attached 75- 
mm. recoilless gun obliterated a wheel-mounted machinegun and its 
crew going into position on the crest. The Marines had climbed only a 
few yards when Bohn was ordered by Taplett at 1230 to withdraw rhe 
company to Observation Hill. 

Company H, then passing between Hill 91 and Observation Hill on 
its way to Obong-ni's eastern approaches, received the same order from 
the Battalion commander. The assault on the ridge had been canceled, 
and Murray was concentrating his regiment along the MSR, 

Two Marine Tanks Killed 

Throughout the Brigade advance on 5 Seprember, the Marines were 
hampered by heavy rain and fog which prevented MAG-33 and VMO-6 
from operating effectively. Thus the enemy was offered a rare oppor- 
tunity to mount a daylight attack.' 1 

' This seccion is derived from: Annex How; LtCol M. R. Oison, interv with author, 15 
Jun 54; Taplett, 20 Apr 54; Muetzel, 5-6 Jan 54 (with comments by Maj J. R. Stevens); 
and Fen ton, 8 May 54. 

the Pmdn Perimeter 

After Company B received orders to hold up on Hill 125, Fenton or- 
dered his men to dig foxholes along the rain-soaked crest facing Tugok 
village and Finger Ridge to the west and Obong-ni Ridge to the south- 
west. The company commander directed the attached 1st Platoon of 
tanks to remain in the road cut, just to the rear of the famous bend 
around the forward slopes of Hill 125. Peeting through the rain and fog, 
rhe Marine tankmen could see rhe dead, black hulls of the three T-34's 
knocked oat by the Brigade 2 weeks earlier. 

At 1420 the sporadic sniping from the front suddenly increased to the 
intensity of preparatory fire, and Baker Company was pinned down on 
its ridgcline positions. The northern rip of Obong-ni Ridge blazed wirh 
NKPA machineguns, whose chatter was soon joined by that of auto- 
matic weapons concealed in Tugok and at the northern base of Observa- 
tion Hill. A Communist antitank gun on Finger Ridge added its voice 
intermittently to the chorus. 

Fen ton's radio went dead jusr as he reported the situation to Newton 
at his OP on the high ground to the east. As luck would have it, every 
other radio in the company area was inoperative because of the mud and 
rain; and Fenton was unable to warn the Marine tanks in the road cut 
that enemy armor and troops were advancing toward the road bend 
from the west. 

As the Communist vehicles swung into the turn, a company of Red 
soldiers left the road and assaulted Company B's positions by advancing 
up the draw on the Marines' left front. The intense overhead fire sup- 
porting the Red Infantry enabled them to get well up the forward 
slopes. Meanwhile, a squad of North Koreans advanced up the draw 
leading from Tugok and harassed Fenton's right front. 

To stop the attack, the Marines were forced to man the crest of Hill 
125. Thus exposed to the enemy's supporting fire, Company B had to 
pay a heavy price in casualties. 

During the advance of the Communist armor, ir was determined that 
the first 2 of the 3 vehicles were T-34 tanks and the last a tracked 
armored personnel carrier. Fenton immediately deployed his assault 
squad on the slopes below his left flank to meet the threat on the MSR. 

Lieutenant Pomeroy, unaware of the enemy tanks around the bend, 
advanced his M-26's so that the machineguns on Obong-ni Ridge could 
be taken under massed fire. Thus, as the first Marine rank reached the 
bend, its 90-mm. gun was pointing to the left front, a quarter turn away 
from the enemy armor. 

The lead T-34 fired on the Marine vehicle as soon as ir came into 

Mission Completed 

view. Before the turret of the M-26 could be turned to take aim, several 
more 85-mm. projectiles struck; and the Brigade lost its first tank to 
enemy action. The second M-26 in column rried to squeeze by the first 
to render assistance, and it too was knocked out by 85-mm. fire in the 
restricted passageway. 

The crews of both Marine ranks managed to get out of their vehicles 
through the escape hatches. Some of the wounded were aided by the 
engineer mine-clearance team accompanying the tank column. 

Since the road bend was now blocked, the remainder of Pomeroy's 
tanks could do nothing but park in the road cut. It was Marine infantry- 
men who stepped in at this point and blunted the NKPA victory on the 

Company B's assault squad plastered the lead T-34 with 3.5" rocket 
fire and stopped it cold. Shortly afterwards, the 1st Battalion's assault 
platoon reached the fight scene and went into action with its 3.5's. In 
short order the infantrymen had completed the destruction of the first 
tank, knocked out the second, and destroyed the enemy personnel carrier. 

The historic road bend, as seen rhrough the rain and mist, had become 
a graveyard of armor. A total of 8 steel monsters were sprawled there in 
death: 5 T-34's and 1 armored carrier of the NKPA, and 2 Pershing 
tanks of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. 

The Brigade's Final Action 

On Hill 125 the fight reached a climax as Marines exchanged grenades 
and small-arms fire with the North Koreans slithering up the slopes in 
the driving rain. Company B had used all of its 60-mm. morrar shells 
and was running low on grenades and small arms ammunition. Enemy 
automatic weapons on the ridges to the front were still cutting down 
the Marine defenders ar 1500 when Fenton sent a runner to Newton re- 
questing more ammunition/ 1 

The endurance contest was still in progress half an hour later, as the 
9th Infantry moved into positions on the high ground north of Hill 125. 
Having no communications with his own supporting arms, Fenton sent 
a messenger to the Army unit commander, asking that he place arrillery 
fire on the Marine front. 

When Army shells began falling in answer to the request, 1/5's 81- 
mm. mortars belatedly got into the fight and worked over the forward 



The Pusan Perimeter 

slopes of Hill 125 to within 50 yards of Company B's positions. The 
heavy supporting fire turned the tide, and enemy pressure slackened 

During the final stage of the enemy's attack, Company A was being 
relieved on Observation Hill by 3/5. Stevens told his platoon leaders to 
leave their grenades and extra ammunition on the hill, since his orders 
were to withdraw to the rear. While the relief was taking place, how- 
ever, Company A was ordered to reinforce Fen ton's unit against the ene- 
my's attack on Hill 125. Muetzel's 2d Platoon, after recovering its am- 
munition, was augmented by a machinegun section, mortar squad, and 
two SCR-300 radios, before the young officer led the unit across the 
MSR to lend a hand. 

When Stevens' relief by 3/5 was completed, he added the 1st Platoon 
to Company B's reinforcements, and himself withdrew to Cloverleaf 
Hill with the 3d Platoon as ordered. 

The reinforcements were fed into Fen ton's line as fast as they reached 
the summit of Hill 125. By this time every man in Company B had been 
committed to the forward wall— mortarmen, clerks, signalmen, and all. 
Lieutenant Howard Blank combined his Able Company mortars with 
those of the defenders and immediately followed up the artillery and 
81-mm. fire which had blunted the attack. These final concentrations of 
60-mm. mortar fire on Obong-ni and Finger Ridges and the forward 
slopes of Hill 125 ended the enemy attack. The surviving Reds with- 
drew to Tugok. 

At 1600, during the dying minutes of the Brigade's final action in the 
Pusan Perimeter, Newton was ordered back to the regimental CP for a 
conference. The executive officer, Major Merlin R. Olson, took over 1/5 
from the battalion OP on the ridge east of Hill 125. 

The 5 th Marines commander had called the leaders of his battalions 
to brief them on General Craig's last field directive, which began with 
the long awaited words: 


Taplert's 3d Battalion had sustained 24 casualties from artillery and 
mortar fire berween its occupation of Observation Hill and the time it 
was relieved by a company of the 23d Infantry shortly after midnight. 



Plodding rearward through mud and driving rain, 3/5 's long column be- 
gan its three-and-a-half-mile march to an entrucking point 2,000 yards 
west of Yongsan. 

Following 3/5 were the weaty, mud-soaked troops of the 1st Battal- 
ion. Having successfully defended Hill 125 at a cost of 2 killed and 23 
wounded, Baker Company had filed down to the road after being re- 
lieved by another company of the 23d Infantry. Muetzel brought up the 
rear with Company A's contingent, and a battalion column was formed 
at Olson's check point east of Hill 125. 

By dawn of 6 September, the two battalions were loading aboard 
trucks to follow the rest of the Brigade. Numbed by fatigue and icy rain, 
the bent forms huddled together in the cargo vehicles had no regrets as 
they bade good-bye to the Pusan perimeter. 

The movement to Pusan was completed by the morning of 7 September, 
and the Brigade troops found themselves back at the docks where they 
had landed a little more than a month before. In fact, the docks were to 
be their bivouac area during the next 6 days; the men slept in the open 
and took their meals on board the transports in which they would soon 
be sailing around the peninsula. 

The survivors of the Naktong fights— even the latecomers who had 
joined the Brigade at the Bean Patch— felt old and worn when they saw 
the large draft of shiny new Marines just landed as third rifle companies 
organized with their own NCO's and platoons. The veterans had for- 
gotten how young and untroubled a Marine could look; how neat and 
clean he could appear in a recently issued utility jacket. 

The new companies were immediately assigned to their battalions. It 
was another job for officers and NCO's who had the responsibility of re- 
placing equipment lost in action as well as servicing ordnance, motor 
transport and other heavy equipment which had been sent from the 
Bean Patch to Pusan late in August. 7 

General Craig and his staff had their headquarrers in one of rhe Pusan 
University buildings. There was no opportunity for planning, let alone 
rehearsals, for rhe forrhcoming amphibious assault at Inchon. Craig and 
his officers had all they could do to get the Brigade ready for embarka- 

' Col J. L. Stewart, interv with author, 10 Jim 54. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Among rhe tasks to be accomplished in less than a week, it remained 
to give some weapons training to the 3,000 troops of the 1st Korean 
Marine Regiment. This newly raised unit, attached to the Brigade for 
embarkation, was to make a name for itself within the next year and be- 
come the fourth rifle regiment of the 1st Marine Division. But in Sep- 
tember 1950 there were great gaps in the training of the KMC's. The 
men kept their rifles scrupulously clean, and they could strip an M-l 
expertly, but few of them had ever fired a shot. 

Marine NCO's had the hazardous duty of giving the eager and excited 
KMC's their first target practice after eight rounds of ammunition for 
each man had been acquired. No Marine casualties resulted, fortunately, 
but puffed and bruised cheeks were the rule among Koreans having 
their first experience with an M-l's recoil. 

There was, of course, no end of "scuttlebutt" going the rounds of the 
Marines as to their destination. One day the troops were lined up in for- 
mation and read a long lecture on the hydrographic aspects of the west 
coast port of Kunsan. It is to be hoped that this red herring made some 
impression upon the Koreans who were listening, since Pusan was a 
headquarters of enemy spies. As for the Marines, most of them con- 
cluded that at least Kunsan could be eliminated from the list of possible 

The secret was well kept by Brigade officers in the higher echelons. 
Two engineer officers, Firsr Lieutenant Ernest P. Skelt and Commis- 
sioned Warrant Officer Willard C. Downs, were given the secret mission 
of constructing wooden scaling ladders for the next operation. This 
project gave rise to more rumors, but it is safe to say that few men in 
the ranks knew the answer when the Brigade was deactivated at 0001 on I 
13 September 1950. The components immediately resumed their old 
unit designations in the 1st Marine Division and sailed to take part in 
the amphibious assault on Inchon scheduled for rhe 15th. 8 

Results of Brigade Operations 

As the mountains behind Pusan faded from sight, General Craig and 
his men could reflect that the Brigade's 67 days of existence had been 
productive. Altogether, the Marine air-ground ream had fought three 
difficult offensive operations in a month while traveling 380 miles with 

"The Inchon-Seoul operation of the 1st Marine Division and 1st Marine Air Wing from 
15 September to 7 October 1950 is to be the subject of Volume II of this historical series 
devoted to Marine operations in Korea. 

Mission Completed 


a third of its organic transportation plus Army vehicles. 

Total casualties for the Brigade included 148 KI A, 15 DOW, 9 MIA 
(seven of whom were later reclassified as KIA after recovery of the 
bodies) and 730 WIA. 9 It was estimated that the Marines inflicted total 
casualties of 9,900 killed and wounded on opposing NKPA units. En- 
emy losses of arms and equipment were on such a scale as to impair the 
effectiveness of the forces concerned. 

In irs initial operation, as a component of Task Force Kean, the Bri- 
gade had the major part in the first sustained Eighth Army counterat- 
tack—the military equivalent of a hard left jab which rocks an opponent 
back on his heels. General MacArthur, when reporting to the United 
Nations, asserted that "this attack not only secured the southern ap- 
proaches to the beachhead, but also showed that the North Korean 
forces will not hold under attack." 10 

The Communist drive in this sensitive area came closest of all NKPA 
thrusts to the vital UN supply port of Pusan. Up to that time the 
NKPA units spearheading the advance— the 6th Infantry Division and 
the 83d Motorcycle Regiment— had never suffered a reverse worth men- 
tioning since the outset of the invasion. Then the counterattack by the 
1st Provisional Marine Brigade hurled the enemy back 26 miles in 4 
days from the Chindong-ni area to Sachon. 

It was estimated that the Marine air-ground team killed and wounded 
1,900 of the enemy while destroying nearly all the vehicles of an NKPA 
motorized battalion in addition to infantry armament artd equipment. 
The enemy threat in this critical area was nullified for the time being, 
and never again became so serious. Marine efforts assisted Army units 
of Task Force Kean in taking new defensive positions and defending 
them with fewer troops, thus freeing some elements for employment on 
other fronts. Finally, the Marines earned more time and space for the 
building up of Eighth Army forces in preparation for a decisive UN 

The next Brigade operation, the first battle of the Naktong, ranks 
with the hardest fights of Marine Corps history. The enemy, after show- 
ing skill and aggressiveness in breaching the last natural barrier of the 
Pusan Perimeter, widened his Naktong bridgehead and took strong de- 
fensive positions in preparation for an all-out offensive while still main- 
taining his material superiority. 

,J Bjig SAR, basic report. 

H MCBS, MI-A- 18-19. This valuable operational study by Marine senior officers has 
been the guide for the summaries and analyses of Brigade results in these pages. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Only two Eighth Army units were available for a counterattack— the 
27th Infantry and the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade. The Army regi- 
ment being needed in reserve on the southern front, the "firemen of the 
Pusan Perimeter" were placed under the operational control of the 24th 
Infantry Division on the central front. There the Marines had the 
mission of clearing the enemy from Obong-ni Ridge and two other large 
hill masses of the Naktong Bulge. 

The NKPA 4th Infantry Division had taken maximum advantage of 
strong defensive terrain in accordance with the precepts taught by Soviet 
and Chinese Communist military instrucrors. This enlarged bridgehead 
was credited by CINCFE with giving the enemy rhe capability of 
mounting a serious threat to the main railroad from Pusan to Taegu. 

It took a bitter and costly effort on the part of the Brigade, but the 
result was the most smashing defeat ever given an NKPA major unit up 
to this time. This reverse turned into a rout and slaughter toward the 
end as Marine air, artillery, armor, and mortars inflicted terrible losses. 
Broken NKPA forces were cut down in flight or while trying to swim 
the Naktong. 

If the Brigade's first operation may be likened to a hard left jab, the 
fighr in the Naktong Bulge is comparable to a solid right dealing a 
knockdown blow. The enemy lurched back to his feet, it is true, but the 
three rifle regiments of the NKPA 4th Infantry Division had to be filled 
up with hastily ttained recruits. 

Atms ranging from rifles to howitzers were abandoned as impedi- 
ments by the routed Communists, so that the tebuilt NKPA 4th In- 
fantry Division needed new armament and equipment of all sorts. Gen- 
eral MacArthur's summary of the action, reported to the UN Security 
Council on 18 September 1950, stated that "attacks by the United States 
24th Division and the Marines eliminated a major penetration of the 
Naktong defense line on 18 August. Here, the enemy 4th Division was 
decisively defeated, lost its bridgehead, and was thrown westward across 
the Naktong River, suffering very heavy losses in both personnel and 

Never before had a major NKPA unit taken such a staggering defeat. 
As evidence of recent victories won over United States troops, the 4th 
Infantry Division had broughr captured American machineguns and 
105-mm. howitzers inro rhe Naktong Bulge. Among the most impor- 
tant results achieved by the Brigade, therefore, was the hurt done to Red 
Korean morale. 

Not only was the enemy's Naktong bridgehead liquidated; he also 

Mission Completed 

lost heavily in time, which was becoming more valuable to him than 
space if he hoped to profit from his rapidly dwindling advantage in num- 
bers. Not until 10 days later did the Communists establish another 
bridgehead in the Naktong Bulge area, and then it was their misfortune 
to encounter the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade again. 

During the early morning hours of 1 September 1950, the enemy 
made his final effort to smash through to Pusan. Again the 27th Infan- 
try was needed on another front, so that the Marines, as the only other 
mobile reserve unit, were committed under the operational control of 
the 2d Infantry Division, The seriousness of the situation in the Nak- 
tong Bulge is indicated by the fact that the enemy had enlarged his new 
bridgehead with a penetration of about 4,000 yards in rhe sector of the 
2d Division. Elements of four enemy divisions had been identified on 
the central front when the Marines jumped off on the morning of 3 

The Brigade's 3-day fight did not end as decisively as the first battle 
of the Naktong. That is because it was an unfinished fight. The Marines 
were pulled out on the night of 5 September, after gains of 2,500 to 
3,000 yards that day, and it can only be conjectured what General Craig 
and his men might have accomplished during the next 48 hours. 

As it was, the Brigade had a prominent parr in disrupring the enemy's 
effort to sever the Pusan-Taegu lifeline. Heavy losses both in personnel 
and equipment were inflicted on NKPA forces, and the Marines helped 
to reduce the enemy's new bridgehead by 8,000 to 10,000 yards. 

Not only had the enemy lost the battle; he had lost the war, as it 
proved, for EUSAK staff officers were even then planning a great UN 
counterstroke in rhe Pusan Perimeter, This drive was to be in conjunc- 
tion with the amphibious assault on Inchon, 

The turning point in the UN forrunes of war owed in no small meas- 
ure to the three counterattacks by the Marines in the Pusan Perimeter. 
As for the overall effects, it would be hard to improve upon the analysis 
and evaluation in the Marine Corps Board Study: 

"A careful examination of any of these operations in which Marines engaged dis- 
closes that a single failure would have a profound effect upon the entire UN effort. 
. . . On 3 separate occasions the Brigade was attached to the defending UN forces 
at points of dangerous enemy penetrations and 3 times Marine units spearheaded 
the counterattacking elements and effectively stopped the enemy's efforts, seizing 
the initiative from him, inflicting serious losses upon him, and forcing the abandon- 
ment of immediate attempts at decisive penettation." 11 

"MCBS. I-II-A-36. 

The Pusan Perimeter 

Summaries and Conclusions 

No Marine tactical organization of history ever did more than the Bri- 
gade to uphold the tradition of the Corps as a force-in-readiness. The 
transition from activation to embarkation took only 6 days, and it may 
be recalled that the Brigade became the first United States unit to get 
into the fight after crossing the Pacific from the American mainland. 

Although the components had been hastily thrown together without 
opportunity for training or rehearsals, there were singularly few in- 
stances of tactical fumbling during the early actions. Some of the men 
had their only weapons familiarization instruction in actual battle, when 
they fired new arms for the first time. But thanks to the steadying influ- 
ence of combat-wise company officers and NCO's, the Marines of the 
Brigade soon gained competence. 

The Brigade command and staff faced unusual problems arising from 
such factors as emergency situations, hurried planning, oral orders, in- 
complete intelligence, and lack of adequate maps. There were decisions 
now and then which officers would not have made if they had been en- 
dowed with the wisdom of knowledge after the event. But on the basis 
of infotmation at the time, the Brigade command and staff" need no 
whitewashing from history. Marine victories, on the other hand, may be 
attributed in large degree to a high order of leadership and professional 
ability in the uppet echelons as well as on the company and platoon 

It might have been argued that it was a waste to commit amphibious 
specialists to the operations of mountain warfare. Bur Marines were also 
trained as infantry, and gravel-crunching fighting men were needed to 
cotrect an illusion held by many of their countrymen. Atomic bombs, 
guided missiles, jet planes, and other marvelous new weapons had con- 
vinced a large section of the public that the day of push-button warfate 
was at hand. These Ameticans sincerely believed that wars could be 
waged at long distance, and the Marines of the Brigade served their 
country well by demonstrating that even in the tactical millenium it was 
necessary to seek out the enemy and close with him. For if there was any 
outstanding figure of the conflict in Korea, it was some second lieuten- 
ant making split-second decisions which meant life or death for a 
plaroon holding a hill position against enemy attack in the darkness. 

The three squadrons of MAG-33 provided support which the Brigade 
reported as "the best close air support in the histoty of the Marine 
Corps . . . outstanding in its effectiveness." Army infantry officers were 

Mission Completed 


frankly envious on occasion; and Colonel Paul L. Freeman, USA, com- 
manding the 23d Infantry, commented that "the Marines on our left 
were a sight to behold. Not only was their equipment superior or equal 
to ours, but they had squadrons of air in direct support. They used it like- 
artillery. It was ! Hey, Joe— This is Smitty— Knock the left of that ridge 
in front of Item Company.' They had it day and night. It came off nearby 
carriers, and not from Japan with only 15 minutes of fuel to accomplish 
mission." 12 

The UN forces, of course, had complete supremacy in the air. On two 
occasions the Marines of the Brigade were briefly strafed by NKPA night 
hecklers making a "scalded-cat" raid. During the interlude at the Bean 
Patch an enemy plane winged its way under cover of darkness to cut 
loose with a brief burst of machinegun bullets before disappearing into 
the night. But United States Air Force planes had virtually destroyed the 
little NKPA air force during the first few weeks of the war, so that the 
men of the Brigade were virtually unopposed in the air. 

The time interval between a request for Marine air support and the 
actual delivery varied according to local conditions, but the ground 
forces seldom had cause for complaint. All-weather Squadron VMF(N)- 
513, based at Itazuke, Japan, was prevented by reason of faulty commu- 
nications and liaison from responding to every request for dawn, dusk 
or night support during early Brigade operations, but such missions were 
flown effectively in the Naktong Bulge. Meanwhile, the Corsairs of 
VMF-214 and VMF-323, orbiting on station and always available for 
short notice employment, gave fresh proof that the Navy-Marine con- 
cept of carrier-based tactical aircraft was sound in practice. Following are 
the statistics of MAG-33 operations in Korea from 3 August to 14 
September 1950: 

Missions in dust support 
Total Misctllamotts : 









. 670 






VMF-323 . . . 

. 498 






VMF(N)-513 . 

. 343 






. 1511 






Demands on the rime of the original 4 helicopters of VMO-6 made it 
necessary to fly 2 more machines in from Japan. The rotary-wing aircraft 

fl Quoted in MCBS, I-II-A-35; and I-IV-B-9. 
'* MCBS, tr, Appendix 64. 


The Pusan Perimeter 

had so many "firsts" to their credit in the Pusan Perimeter that a major 
tactical innovation was obviously in the making. The flights of General 
Craig, Colonel Snedeker and Lieutenant Colonel Stewart alone were 
enough to indicate that the helicopter was capable of working a 
revolution in command and staff procedures. 

Altogether, the participation of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade 
was an important factor in stopping the NKPA invasion in August 1950 
and punishing the invaders so severely that they were ripe for a crushing 
defeat the following month. The Marines, moreover, did a great deal to 
restore the national pride of countrymen who had been hurt and 
bewildered by the outcome of the first month's operations. 

It was humiliating to tead on the front page that only 5 years after 
reaching our greatest military strength of history, United States troops 
were being pushed around by Asiatic peasants of a Soviet- trained organ- 
ization calling itself the North Korean People's Army. Perhaps these 
Americans did not remember that the decline in our Armed Forces was 
due ro overwhelming popular demands for the disbanding of our victo- 
rious armies of 1945. At any rate, the United States paid the penalty of 
unpreparedness in 1950 when its first ground-force units were beaten by 
better trained and equipped NKPA troops. Worse yet, correspondents at 
the front intimated that these defeats were due to the softness of our 
youth. It was charged that United States troops had been so pampered by 
moror transport that they could no longer march, let alone fight. 

The Marines helped to change all that. The Marines and the better i 
Army units proved that they were more than a match for the enemy 
when it came to marching as well as fighring. The Marines did their best 
to restore the pride of Americans who read about the advance to Kosong 
or the fight on Obong-ni Ridge. The Marines, in short, deserved the pat 
on the back conveyed in a dispatch to the Brigade on 23 August 1950 
from their Commandant, General Clifton B. Cates: 



Glossary of Military and 
Aeronautical Terms 

AKA— Attack cargo ship. 

APA— Attack transport ship. 

ADC— Assistant Division Commander, 

BAR— Browning automatic rifle. 

BLT— Battalion landing team. 

CCF— Chinese Communist Forces (re- 
fers to entire Chinese force em- 
ployed in Korea). 

CG— Commanding general. 

CINCFE— Commander in Chief, Far 

CincPacFlt— Commander in Chief, Pa- 
cific Fleet. 
CINCUNC— Commander in Chief, 

United Nations Command. 
CNO-Chief of Naval Operations. 
CO— Commanding officer. 
COMNAGFE— Commander Naval Air 

Group Far East. 
COMNAVFE— Commander Navy Far 


Amphibious Group One. 

Seventh Fleet. 
COS— Combined Operations Section. 
CP— Command Post. 
CSG— Combat Service Group. 
CTF-Commander Task Force. 
CVG— Carrier Air Group. 
DOW— Died of wounds. 

EUSAK-Eighth United States Army 

in Korea. 
FAC— Forward Air Controller. 
FEAF— Far East Air Force. 
FECOM— Far East Command. 
FL— Flight leader. 

FMF— Fleet Marine Force (Pac = Pa- 
cific; Lant= Atlantic). 

GHQFEC— General Headquarters, Far 
East Command, 

H F — High frcquen cy (radio). 

InfDiv— Infantry Division. 

JCS-Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

JOC— Joint Operations Center. 

KIA— Killed in action. 

KMC— Korean Marine Corps. 

KVA— Korean Volunteer Army. 

LST— Landing ship, tank. 

MAG— Marine Aircraft Group. 

MCBS— Marine Corps Board Study. 

MGCIS— Marine Ground Control In- 
tercept Squadron. 

MIA— Missing in action. 

MSR— Main supply route. 

MTACS— Marine Tactical Air Control 

NCO— Noncommissioned officer. 

NK-North Korea (n). 

NK PA— North Korean Peoples Army. 

OP— Observation post. ' 

OY— Light observation plane. 

305713 O-F-55 17 



The Pusan Perimeter 

POL— Petroleum oil lubricants. 
POW— Prisoner of war. 
PtovCasCo— Provisional Casual Com- 

RCT— Regimental Combat Team, 
RQK- Republic of Korea. 
SAC— Supporting Arms Center. 
SAR— Special Action Report. 
SecN a v— Secretary of t lie Navy. 
TAC— Tactical Air Coordinator, 
TAC X Corps— Tactical Air Command, 
X Corps. 

TACC— Tactical Air Control Center. 
TACP— Tactical Air Control Party. 
TACRON— Tactical Air Control 

TAD— Tactical Air Direction. 

TADC-Tactical Air Direction Centet. 

TAO— Tactical Air Observer. 

TAR— Tactical air request. 

T/E— Table of equipment. 

T/O— Table of organization. 

UN— United Nations. 

VHF— Very high frequency (radio). 

VMF— Marine fighter type aircraft 

VMF(N)— Marine night fighter type 
aircraft, all-weather (squadron). 

VMO— Marine observation type air- 
craft (squadron), 

V MR— Marine transport type aitcraft 

WI A— Wounded in action. 


Command and Staff List of the 
First Provisional Marine Brigade 

7 July— 13 September 1950 

Commanding General BrigGen Edward A. Craig 

Deputy Commander BrigGen Thomas J. Oishman 

Chief of Staff Coi Edward W. Snedeker 

G-l Maj Donald W. Sherman 

G-2 '. LtCol Ellsworth G. Van Oman 

G-3 LtCol Joseph L. Stewart 

G-4 LtCol Arthur A. Chidester 

Special Staff Section 

Adjutant Capt Harold G. Schrier 

Supply Officer Maj James K. Eagan 

Air Officer Maj James N. Cupp 

Signal Officer Maj Elwin M. Sampson 

Air Observer , Capt Edwin L. Rives 

Signal Supply Officer IstLt Joseph E. Conners 

Engineer Supply Officer Capt William R. Gould 

Liaison Officer LtCol Edward R. Hagenah 

Brigade Surgeon Capt Eugene R. Hering, Jr., USN 

Brigade Dental Officer LtComdr Jack j. Kelly, USN 

Headquarters and Service Battalion 
(32 officers— 183 enlisted men) 

Commanding Officer Maj Richard E. Sullivan 

Executive Officer Capt Samuel Jaskilka (to 18 Aug 50) 

CoComdr, Hq Co IstLt Nathaniel F. Mann, Jr. 



The Pusan Perimeter 

Detachment, 1st Signal Battalion 
(4 officers— 99 enlisted men) 
DetComdr Capt Earl F. Stanley 

Company A, 1st Motor Transport Battalion 
(6 officers — 112 enlisted men) 
Commanding Officer Capt Arthur W Ecklund 

Company C, 1st Medical Battalion 
(5 officers— 94 enlisted men) 
Commanding Officer Comdr Robert A. Freyling, USN 

Company' A, 1st Shore Party Battalion 
(12 officers— 213 enlisted men) 
Commanding Officer Maj William L. Batchelor 

Company A, 1st Engineer Battalion 
(9 officers — 209 enlisted men) 
Commanding Officer. Capt George W. King 

Detachment, 1st Ordnance Battalion 
(5 officers— 119 enlisted men) 
DetComdr IstLt Meyer La Bellman 

Company A, 1st Tank Battalion 

(9 officers — 173 enlisted men) 

Commanding Officer Capt Gearl M, English 

PlatComdr, 1st Plat IstLt William D. Pomcroy 

PlatComdr, 2d Plat 2dLt Robert M. Winter (to 3 Sep 50, WIA) 

2dLt John S. Carson (3 Sep 50, KIA) 
PlatComdr, 3d Plat 2dLt Granville G. Sweet 

Command and Staff List 
1st Battalion, lltb Marines 

Commanding Officer 
Executive Officer . . . 

(44 officers — 474 enlisted men) 

LtCol Ransom M. Wood 

Maj Francis R. Schlesinger 

Headquarters Battery 
Commanding Officer . 
Service Battery: 

Capt James W. Brayshay 

Commanding Officer . 
Battery A: 

IstLt Kenneth H. Quclch. 

Commanding Officer 

Capt James D. Jordan 

Battery B: 

Commanding Officer Capt Arnold C. Hofsrctter 

Battery C : 

Commanding Officer Capt William J. Nichols, Jr. 

Detachment, 1st Combat Service Group 
(5 officers— 104 enlisted men) 

DetComdr Maj Thomas J. O'Mahoney * 

Detachment, Reconnaissance Company 
(2 officers— 37 enlisted men) 

DetComdr Capt Kenneth J. Houghton 

Detachment, Military Police Company 
(2 officers— 36 enlisted men) 

DetComdr IstLc Nye G, Rodes 

DetComdr . . . 

Detachment, 1st Service Battalion 
(11 officers— 161 enlisted men) 

Capt Thomas M. Sagar 

Commanding Officer 

1st Amphibian Tractor Company 
(10 officers — 244 enlisted men) 

r Maj James P. Treadwell 

250 The Pusan Perimeter 

1st Amphibian Truck Platoon 
(l officer — 75 enlisted men) 

Commanding Officer IstLt James E. Condra 


Commanding Officer Maj Vincent J. Gottschalk 

5th Marines 
(132 officers— 2452 enlisted men) 

Commanding Officer LtCol Raymond L. Murray- 
Executive Officer LtCol Lawrence C. Hays, Jr. 

S-l IstLt Alton C. Weed 

S-2 Maj William C. Esterline 

S-3 LtCol George F. Waters, Jr. (to 29 Aug 50) 

Maj Charles H. Brush, Jr. 
S-4 , Maj Harold Wallace 

Special Staff, 5th Marines: 

Chaplain LtComdr Orlando Ingvolstad, Jr., USN 

Medical Officer Lt (jg) William E. Larsen, USN (to 11 Aug 


LtComdr Byron D. Casteel 

Supply Officer Capt John V. Huff 

Motor Transport Officer Capt William F. A. Trax (to 15 Aug 50) 

IstLt James O. Alison 

Ordnance Officer CWO Bill E. Parrish 

Disbursing Officer Capt Kenneth L. Shaw 

Communications Officer Maj Kenneth B. Boyd 

Naval Gunfire Officer ........ Lt Jerry C. Ragon, USN 

Air Officer IstLt Leo R. Jillisky 

1st Battalion, 5th Marines: 

Commanding Officer LtCol George R. Newton 

Executive Officer Maj Merlin R. Olson 

CO, H & S Company Capt Walter E. Godenius 

CO, Company A Capt John R, Stevens 

CO, Company B Capt John L. Tobin (to 17 Aug 50, WIA) 

Capt Francis I. Fenton, Jr. 

CO, Weapons Company Maj John W. Russell 

Command and Staff List 


2d Battalion, 5th Marines: 

Commanding Officer LtCol Harold S. Roise 

Executive Officer LtCol John W. Stevens, II 

CO, H & S Company IstLt David W, Walsh 

CO, Company D Captjohn Finn, Jr. (to 8 Aug 50, WIA) 

Capt Andrew M. Zimmer (to 17 Aug 50, 

IstLt Robert T. Hanifin, Jr. (to 22 Aug 50) 
IstLt H. J. Smith 

CO, Company E Capt George E. Kittrcdge (to 7 Aug 50, 


IstLt William E. Sweeney (to 18 Aug 50) 
Capt Samuel Jaskilka 

CO, Weapons Company Maj Walter Gall (to 10 Aug 50) 

Maj Theodore F. Spiker 

3d Battalion, 5th Marines: 

Commanding Officer LtCol Robert D. Taplett 

Executive Officer Maj John J. Canney 

CO, H & S Company IstLt Arthur E. House, Jr. (to 22 Aug 50) 

IstLt Harold D. Fredericks 

CO, Company G IstLt Robert D. Bohn 

CO, Company H Capt Joseph C. Fegan, Jr. (to 18 Aug 50, 


Capt Patrick E. Wildman 

CO, Weapons Company Capt Patrick E. Wildman (to 19 Aug 50) 

Maj Murray Ehrlich 

Forward Echelon, 1st Marine Air Wing 

CommandingGeneral BrigGen ThomasJ. Cushman 

Chief of Staff Col Kenneth H. Weir 

Marine Air Group 33: 

Commanding Officer Col Allen C. Koonce (to 20 Aug 50) 

Col Frank G. Dailey 

Deputy Commander LtCol Norman J, Anderson 

Executive Officer LtCol Radford C. West 

CO, VMF-214 LtCol Walter E. Lischeid 

CO, VMF-323 Maj Arnold A. Lund 

CO, VMF(N)-513 Maj Joseph H. Reinburg 

CO, Hq Squadron Capt Norman D. Glenn 

CO, Service Squadron LtCol James C. Lindsay 

CO, MTACS-2 Maj Christian C. Lee 

— : 



Citations and Commendations 

September 29, 1950 


The President of the Republic of Korea takes profound pleasure in citing for out- 
standing and heroic performance of duty on the field of battle during the period 
2 August 1950-6 September 1950. 

The First United States Provisional Marine Brigade 
for the Award of 
The Presidential Unit Citation 

The First United States Provisional Marine Brigade was a vital element in the first 
major counterattack against the enemy. 

In late July and early August 1950, the enemy had swept through the Chulla 
Provinces and had rapidly approached along the south Korean coast to a point only 
35 miles from the vital port of Pusan. Together with the 25th Infantry Division, the 
First United States Provisional Marine Brigade, from 7 August to 12 August 1950, 
played a major role in attacking and driving back the enemy. 

During the period 17 August to 20 August 1950 in conjunction with the 24th 
Infantry Division and units of the 2d Infantry Division, the First United States Pro- 
visional Marine Brigade attacked a great pocket of enemy forces who had success- 
fully crossed the Nakrong River and established a firm beachhead on the eastern 
bank. The Brigade attacked with such determination and skill as to earn the admir- 
ation of all who saw or knew of its battle conduct. 

Later, on rhe night of 31 August- 1 September, the enemy again launched an all- 
out offensive against the United Nations Forces. The First United States Provisional 
Marine Brigade was in Army reserve at that time. With the 2d Infantry Division, 
the Brigade again was committed in almost the same area of its earlier action 
against the Naktong pocket in the neighborhood of Yongsan. Again the gallant 
Marine forces were instrumental in preventing the enemy from capturing their ob- 
jective and cutting the notth-south lines of communication of the United Nations 

The brilliant performance of duty in combat in Korea of each individual of the 
First United Stares Provisional Marine Brigade is in accord with the highest tradi- 
tions of the military service. 

This citation carries with it the right to wear the Presidential Unit Citation Rib- 
bon by each individual of the First United States Provisional Marine Brigade which 

(Signed) Syngman Rhee 




The Pusan Perimeter 


The President of the United States takes pleasure in ptesenting the Presidential 
Unit Citation to the 

First Provisional Marine Brigade, Reineorced 

for service as set forth in the following Citation: 

"For extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in Korea 
from 7 August to 7 September 1950. Functioning as a mobile, self-contained, air- 
ground team, the First Provisional Marine Brigade, Reinforced, rendered invaluable 
service during the fierce struggle to maintain the foothold established by friendly 
forces in the Pusan area during the early stages of the Korean conflict. Quickly 
moving into action as numerically superior enemy forces neared the Naktong River 
on the central front and penetrated to within 35 miles of Pusan in the southern 
sector, threatening the integrity of the entire defensive perimeter, this hard-hitting, 
indomitable team counterattacked serious enemy penetrations at three different 
points in rapid succession. Undeterred by roadblocks, heavy hostile automatic 
weapons and highly effective artillery fire, extremely difficult terrain and intense 
heat, the Brigade met the invaders with relentless determination and, on each cru- 
cial occasion, hurled them back in disorderly retreat. By combining sheer resolution 
and esprit de corps with sound infantry tactics and splendid close air support, the 
Brigade was largely instrumental in restoring the line of defense, in inflicting thou- 
sands of casualties upon the enemy and in seizing large amounts of ammunition, 
equipment and other supplies. The brilliant record achieved by the unit during the 
critical early days of the Korean conflict attests to the individual valor and com- 
petence of the officers and men and reflects the highest credit upon the First Pro- 
visional Marine Brigade, Reinforced, and the United States Naval Service." 

All of the First Provisional Marine Brigade except the First Amphibian Tracror 
Company participated in operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 
7 August to 7 September 1950. 

The following reinforcing units of the First Provisional Marine Brigade partic- 
ipated in operations against enemy aggressor forces in Korea from 7 August to 7 
September 1950: 

Forward Echelon, First Marine Aircraft Wing (less ground personnel) 

Marine Air Group Thirty-Three, Reinforced (less ground personnel) 

Marine Observation Squadron Six plus Helicopter Section, Headquarters Squadron 

Air Support Section of Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron Two 

United States Army: Counter Intelligence Corps and Military Intelligence Special 

Detachment personnel attached to the Headquarters Company, Headquarters 

and Service Battalion, First Provisional Marine Brigade. 
For the President, 

(Signed) R. A. Anderson 

Secretary of the Navy 

Citations and Commendations 


Office of the Commanding General 
APO 301 

Subject: Commendation 22 August 1950 

Thru: Commanding General, 24th Infantry Division 
To: Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade 

1. It gives me great pleasure to commend you, your officers and men, for the part 
your organization played in the successful attack which began 17 August 50 against 
a determined enemy occupying a bridgehead east of the Naktong River in the 
vicinity of Kujin-San and ended only when the bridgehead had been eliminarcd 
with great loss of men and equipment to the enemy. 

2. Through excellence in leadership and grit and determination in all ranks, your 
organization helped materially in preventing the enemy from penetrating our lines 
at a critical time. In so doing it has upheld the fine tradition of the Marines in a 
glorious manner and by close cooperation has proved unification of the services a 

3. Please accept my sincere thanks and congratulations. I ask that you convey to 
your splendid command, the traditional "Well Done." 

Walton H. Walker 
Lieutenant General, United States Army 


APO 24, 28 August 1950 

To: Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, APO 25 

L I am pleased and privileged to add my personal commendation to that of the 
Army Commander. And, on behalf of all officers and enlisted personnel of my com- 
mand, I desire to express our sincere appreciation for the decisive and valiant offen- 
sive actions conducted by your command which predominately contributed to the 
total destruction of the Naktong pocket. 

2. The esprit, aggressiveness and sheer determination continuously displayed by 
all personnel of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade in rhe face of fierce enemy re- 
sistance and counteraction has aroused the highest admiration of every member of 
my command. 

John E. Church 

Maj Gen, USA 



The Pusan Perimeter 


% Fleet Post Office, San Francisco, Calif. 1355 

1 :DWS/ldp 
Scr 596 
9 Sep 1950 

From; The Commanding General 

To: All officers and men of rhe 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, FMF (Reinforced) 
Subj: Letter of commendation from the Commanding General, Eighth United States 

Army in Korea, of 22 August 1950 with first endorsement by the Commanding 

General, 24th Infantry Division 
End: (1) Copy of subj ltr and endorsement 

1. It is with extreme pride in your accomplishments that I publish to all officers 
and men of the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade the enclosed copy of a letter from the 
Commanding General, Eighth United States Army in Korea, and endorsement by 
the Commanding General, 24th Infantry Division, United States Army, commend- 
ing the Brigade. 

2, The realization that your professional skill, esprit de corps, outstanding bravery, 
and determination to succeed in all missions has been specifically commended by 
the Army and Division Commanders under whom the Brigade was serving at the 
time is indeed a source of gratification to me as it will also be to you. 

(Signed) E. A. Craig 
E. A. Craig 


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U. S. Military Academy, Department of 
Military Art and Engineering. Operations 
in Korea. West Point, 1953. 

Wood, Ransom M. "Artillery Support for 
the Brigade in Korea." Marine Corps 
Gazette, 35, No. 6:16-17 (June 1951). 


Achcmar (AK), USS, 53, 64, 90 
Africa, 8 

Aircraft, American; 
AD (Skyraider), 47 
B-29 (Superforts), 47 

F4U (Corsair), 48, 98, 139, 140, 141, 142, 
146, 151, 181, 186, 193, 194, 221, 243 

F-51 (Mustangs), 140, 231 

Four-engine Marine aircraft, 65 

Helicopters, 50, 87, 90, 95, 111, 131, 140, 
148, 150 

H03S-1 helicopter, 50, 95, 101 

Japan-based Air Force planes, 18 

Light Observation planes, 50, 90, 126, 150, 

OY-2 observation planes, 95, 110, 2U 

R4D transport, 110 
Aircraft, enemy: 

11-10 ground attack bombers, 29 

PO-2 primary trainers, 29 

YAK-type, 36, 47 

YAK-7B fighters, 29 

YAK-18 advanced trainers, 29 

Russian-made, 17 
Arr Force, U. S., 140, 231, 243 

Far East Air Forces, U, S., 41, HO 

Fifth Air Force, 66, 90, 141 

Bomber Command, Far East Air Force, 47 
Air Support, U. S., 47, 110 
Air Support Section. See Marine Units 
Almond, MajGen Edward A., USA, 56, 211 
Alaska, 4 

Allied Translator and Interpreter Service 

(ATIS). See Far East Command 
Ahham (AKA) USS, 51 

American Military Government. See Korea, 

Republic of 
Ammunition, American, 98 

90-mm., 63, 193 

81-mm. mortar, 190 

60-mm. mortar, 153, 235 

3.5-inch rocket, 193, 015 
Ammunition, enemy: 

122-mm., 126 

85-mm., 235 
Anderson, Corpsman William H., USN, 137 
Attdtrsan (APA), USS, 53, 64, 90 
Andong, 96 

Anglo-American blockading force, 47. Ste 

also Navy, U. S. 
An rung, 21 

Applcman, LtCo) Roy E., USA, 34b, 45 
Arkadis, 2dLt Nickolas A., 184, 191 
Armageddon, 37 

305753 O-F-55 — 18 

Army forces, U. S., 174 

Army, U. S. troops. See U. S. Ground 

Forces; and Army units 
Army, U. S., Units: 

General Headquarters, Far East, 41, 56, 60, 

Army of occupation in Japan, U. S., 43 
Eighth U. S. Army in Korea (EUSAK), 43, 
45, 46, 47, 57, 59, 62, 65-68, 69 map, 70, 
88, 90, 92, 96, 98, 99, 103, 143, 150, 207, 
208, 210-212, 214, 239, 240 
X Corps, 210, 211 

2d Infantry Division, 88, 174, 212-215, 229, 

236, 241 
7th Infantry Division, 43, 211 
24th Infantry Division, 43, 45-47, 67, 68, 

88, 96, 98, 173-176, 207, 240 
25th Infantry Division, 43, 45-47, 67, 68, 

88, 99, 100, 103-106, 124, 147, 148, 150, 

152, 208, 212, 215 
1st Cavalry Division, 43, 46, 67, 68, 96 
5th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 88, 
96, 100, 103, 106, 111-113, 123, 143, 152 

1st Battalion, 5th RCT, 123, 124 

2d Battalion, 5th RCT, 112, 152 
9th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 175- 

179, 182, 186, 187, 196 
29th Regimental Combat Team (RCT), 46, 

67, 68 

9th Infantry Regiment, 174, 212, 215-218, 

228-231, 233, 235 
19th Infantry Regiment, 175, 196 
21st Infantry Regiment: 

1st Battalion, 175. 178, 196 
23d Infantry Regiment, 215, 216, 237, 243 
24th Infantry Regiment, 122, 148 

2d Battalion, 116, 117, 120 
27th Infantry Regiment, 103, 105, 240, 241 

2d Battalion, 103 
32d Infantry Regiment, 211 
34th Infantry Regiment, 46, 175-177, 196 
35th Infantry Regiment, 100, 123 
8th Field Artillery Battalion, 126 
90th Field Arrillery Battalion, 147 
159th Field Artillery Battalion, 150 
555th Field At tillery Battalion, 147, 150-152 
2d Engineer Battalion, 215 
72dTank Battalion, 215 
8076th Surgical Hospital, 194 
Task Force Hill, 174 

Task Force Kcan, 101, 112, 120, 122-124, 

147, 151, 239 
Task Force Perry, 67 
Task Force Smith, 45. 174 



The Pusatt Peritnettr 

Armj', U. S., Units — Continued 
Korean Military Advisory Group, 33 
Pusan Logistical Command, 88, 96 

Asia, 6, 13, 17, 41 

Austria, 10 

BaJotng Strait (CVE-m), USS, 53, 64, 89. 90, 

92, 95, 98, 139, 142 
Bailey, Capt Almarion S., 192b, 221 
Barstow, California, 51, 63. See also Marine 

Corps Supply Depot 
Barth, BrigGen George B,, USA, 99, 150 
Barrett, Set Edward F,, 121 
Bartlett, Col Eugene M., USA, 65 
Bataway, Sgt Melvin R., 168 pic. 
Batchclor, Maj William L., 143 
Battalion Landing Team (BLT), 48, 58 

Changchun, 13 

Mukden, 7, 13 

Stalingrad, 10, 19, 23, 24 

Tsinan, 13 

Tsushima, 7 

Valmy, 7 

Yalu, 7 

Bean Patch, 166 fie., 207, 208, 210, 211, 237, 

Blaekmon, Sgt Thomas, 109 
Black Swan, HMS, 40 
Blank, Lt Howard, 236 

Bohn, IstLt Robert D., 104, 104b, 119, 122, 
129«, 132, 135, 135», 136, 137, 201, 201b, 
203, 204, 206, 228, 233 

Bolkow, TSgt George W., 224 

Bougainville, 52 

Boxer Rebellion, 6 

Brigade Commander. Ste Craig, 

Brush, Maj Charles H., 174 
Bureau of Aeronautics (BuAer), 52 
Buettncr, Sgt Lee, 108 
Bulgaria, 16 

Byrnes, James F., U. S. Secretary of State, 2, in. 

Cahill, 2dLtJohn H., 104, 105b, 106, 108-115, 

115b, 117, 119, 204, 206 
Cairo Conference, l 
Canzona, IstLt Nicholas A., 156 
Caribbean, 53 
Carr, IstLt Ira T,, 117 
Carson, 2dLt John S., 222 
Casteel, LtCdr Byron D., USN, 194 

Army, 67 

enemy, 97, 123 

Marine, 109-111, 113, 116, 117, 122, 155, 161 
pic, mpic, 186, 206, 227, 237, 239 
Catcs, Gen Clifton B., 48, 48b, 49b, 49, 53, 54, 

58, 60, 244 
Central Powers, 7 

Changchon, 144, 146, 147, 151, 152 

ambush, 145 map 
Changchun, Battle of, 13 
Changwon, 92-95, 99, 103, 105, 110, 111, 113, 


Chemulpo (Inchon), 4, 7 
Chiang Kai-shek, Generalissimo, 12, 14 
Chidesrer, LtCol Arthur A., 66, 88, 91, 160 

Chief of Naval Operations. Sec Sherman, 

Adm Forrest P. 
Chief of Staff to General Mac Arthur. See 

Almond, MajGen Edward A., USA 
China, 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12-14, 16, 23, 25, 53 

Civil War in, 13, 14, 22 

Japanese invasion of, 1937, 8, 10 
China-Russia-Japan Triangle, 3 
Chindong-ni, 100, 103, 103w, 104-106, 107 

map, 110-113, 115, 119, 120, 123, 124, 126, 

128, 129, 132, 147, 148, 150, 152, 208, 239 
Chinese Civil War, 153 
Chinese Communists, 10, 12, 13, 19, 20 
Chinese Communist Forces (CCF), 20, 31 

8th Route Army, 23, 24 

56th Army, 96 

164th Infantry Division, 21 

166th Infantry Division, 21, 96 

Northeast Democratic United Army, 20 
Chinese Nationalists, 12, 13, 20, 22, 25 
Chinese Nationalist army, 13 
Chinhac, 66, 95, 99, 209 

Chinju, 46, 66, 67 , 68, 70, 97, 98, 100, 112, 

122, 123, 143 
Chinnampo, 31 

Chistyakov, Gen Ivan (Russian), 10, 19 
Choc Yong Gun, Marshal, NKPA, 23, 24 
Chongjin, 21 
Chongju, 36 
Choi won, 31 
Chukchon-ni, 217, 219 
Chuminjin, 40 
Chunchon, 32, 39, 40 

Church, BrigGen John H., USA, 41, 46, 
173-176, 178, 207 

"Citizen-Marines". See Marine Corps Or- 
ganized Reserve 

Civil War, U. Si, 54 

Clymtr (APA), USS, 53, 91, 92 

"Cold War", 6, 9, 13 

Cole, Lt Doyle, 140 

Collins, Gen J. Lawton, USA, 208 

Combat zone, reconnaissance of, 66 

Commandant of the Marine Corps. See 
Cates, Gen Clifton B. 

Commander in Chief, Far East. Sec Mac- 
Arthur, Gen Douglas 

ander in Chief, Pacific Fleet. See Rad- 
ford, Adm Arthur W. 

Commander Naval Forces, Far East. See Joy, 
VAdm C. Turner 




Commanding Genera), Fleet Marine Force, 
Pacific. See Shepherd, LtGcn Lemuel C, 

Commanding General, Eighth Army, See 

Walker, Gen Walton H., USA 
Commanding General, 1st Provisional Marine 

Brigade. See Craig, BrigGen Edward A, 
Commanding General, 25th Division. Set 

Kean, MajGen W. B. 
Commanding Officer, 5th Marines. Set Mur- 
ray, LtColR. L. 
Commanding Officer, VMO-6. Stt Gott- 

schalk, Maj Vincent J. 
Commando parties, 47 

HF net, 142 

radio vans, 88 

SCH.-300 radios, 106, 109, 224, 236 
TAD net, 142 
TAO net, 142 
TAR net, 142 
VHF net, 142 

Communism, 9, 13, 14 

Communists, 13, 17, 62 
army, 13 
doctrine, 3 
Empire, 8 

Cottrcll, TSgt Johnnie C, 137 

Counsel man, 2dLt John D., 136 

Counterattack, enemy, 12-13Aug50, 154 map 

Cowling, 2dLt David R., 146 

Craig, BrigGen Edward A., 49, 52, 55, 55b, 56, 
56m, 57, 58, 60, 60b, 62, 62h, 63-66, 68, 70, 
87, 88, 88m, 89-95, 99-101, 105, 111, 111m, 
112, 112», 120n, 123, 125, 128, 128k, 129, 
129m, 131, 135, 135«, 136, 140, 144, 147, 147m, 
148, 148b, 150, 152, 156, 158 pic, 159 pie., 
173, 174, 177, 178, 178m, 179, 181, 186m, 194, 
196, 207, 207«, 210-212, 212m, 213, 213m, 215, 
216, 216m, 217, 217m, 219, 227m, 229, 236-238, 
241, 244 

Crowson, SSgt T. Albert, 181, 182, 190 
Cushman, BrigGen Thomas H., 49, 52, 55, 56, 

60, 62, 65, 87, 89, 95, 140, 159 pic. 
Czar Nicholas II, 3, 9 
Czar, Russian, 7 
Czechoslovakia, 10, 38 

D-Day, Sachon Offensive, 100, 126 
D-Day, Inchon Landing, 210, 211 
Dairen, 4 

Dallin, David j,, 9m, 12» 
Daly, Col John, USA, 151 
Dean, MajGen William F., USA, 45, 46, 67 
De Fazio, T/Sgt Ernest L., 158 pic. 
Del afield, Wisconsin, 52 
Dennis, S/Sgt Saweren J., 225 
Department of State, U. S,, 14, 37 
Deputy Commander, 1st Provisional Marine 
Brigade. See Cushman, BrigGen Thomas H. 
Dicketson, T/Sgt Sidney S„ 181, 182, 189 

Downs, CWO Willard C, 238 
Dovle, RAdm James H., USN, 24, 53 
Duncan, 2dLt Edward F., 132 
Duncan, T/Sgt David N., 225 

Eddy, 2dLt Rodger E., 184 
EI Toro, California, 50, 51, 53, 53 
Emmclman, 2dLt Edward T., 113, 115 
Empress Augusta Bay, 52 
England. Set Great Britain 
English, Capt Gearl M,, 50, 63, 92 
Erskine, MajGen Graves B,, 52, 210 
Estonia, 10 

Eubanks, IstLt Fred F.Jr., 198 
Europe, 8, 9, 12, 41 

Far East, 1, 3, 4, 6-9, 13, 22, 39, 40, 43, 45, 

48, 49 
Far East Command : 

General Headquarters, Tokyo, 41, 56, 60, 62, 

Military Intelligence Section ,GS, Allied 
Translator and Intetptcter Section, 16m, 
17m, 19m, 21m, 22k, 26m, 27m, 28m, 30m, 
33k, 39m, 130b 
Fegan, Capt Joseph C, Jr., 104, 104s, 119, 
120m, 120-122, 129, 135, 135m, 136, 137, 151, 
155, 201, 201m, 203, 204 
Fenton, Capt Francis L, Jr., 189b, 190, 195, 
196, 196m, 198, 219, 220, 222, 224, 229, 231, 
231m, 233, 233m, 234-236 
Field, 2dLt Paul R., 193 
Finger Ridge, 175-177, 193, 196, 203, 206, 234, 

Finn, Capt John, Jr., 113-116 

Florida, 42 

Formosa, 4, 14, 41 

Forney, Col Edward H., 211 

Fort Marion (LSD), USS, 53, 63 

Fox, Capt George C, 190m, 192, 192m, 195b, 

196, 196m, 197, 198, 200, 201, 217m, 220, 222, 

France, 4 

Freeman, Col Paul L., USA, 243 
French Revolution, 7 
Fukuoka, Japan, 65 
Fullerton, TSgt C. R., 192m, 193 

Gall, Maj Walter, 117, 117m, 129 
Garvin, BrigGen Crump, USA, 66, 87 
Gay, MajGen Hobarr R., USA, 46 
Geer, Andrew, 51n, 54m 

General Headquarters (GHQ). Set Far East 

Genghis Khan, 13 
Georgia, 42 
Germany, 4, 6, 8-10 
Giaquinto, Cpl Raymond, 136 
Giusti, Maj Ernest H., 48m, 140m 
Golden Gate Bridge, 64 


The Vusan Perimeter 

Gottschalk, Maj Vincent J. , 50 

Great Britain: 27th Infantry Brigade, 2, 14 

Green, A. Wigfall, 34« 

Grew, Joseph C, 9n 

Guadalcanal, 53, 109 

Guam, Marianas Islands, 42, 52 

Gugeler, Capt R, A., USA, 174w 

Gumton Hall CLSD), USS, 53, 63 

Hadong, 67, 98 
Haiti, 52 

Hainan, 104, 119, 121 
Harahung, 20, 31 
Han, Lt (NKPA), 17 
Han River, 40, 173 
Haneda Airport, 56 

Hanifin, Capt R. T., Jr., 113», 114-116, 189 
Harris, MajGen Field, 159 pic. 
Harvey, Lt(jg) Robert J„ USN, 206 
Hawaii, 88 

Hay, John, U. S. Secretary of State, 6 
Helicopters. Ste Aircraft, American 
Henderson, Cpl Virgil W„ 224 
Hcmko CAP A), USS, 53, 63, 64, 90 
Hetrick, 2dLt Lawrence W., 119, 156 
Hickcy, Lt(ig) Bernard L., USN, 194, 219 
Hideyoshi, Japanese war lord, 3 
Hill, Col John G., USA, 174, 176-178, 186 

Hill 88—136, 137 

Hill 91-222, 224, 233 

Hill 99-104, 106, 110, 111, 119, 121, 123 

Hill 102-179, 182, 183, 190, 193, 195, 197, 

Hill 109-179, 182-184, 190, 191, 193, 195- 
198, 200 

Hill 117—179, 181, 182, 190, 191, 195-198, 
200, 220, 221, 222, 224, 225, 227-229 

Hill 125-175, 177, 181, 193, 229, 231, 234- 

Hill 190—129 

Hill 143—179, 181-184, 190, 191, 195, 201 
Hill 147—179, 184, 186, 201 
Hill 153—179, 184, 186, 201 
Hill 202-147, 153, 155 
Hill 207-175, 178, 179, 183, 201, 203, 204, 

Hill 250—146 

Hill 255—103, 104, 110-112, 119, 121-123 
Hill 301—146 

Hill 308—124, 125, 127, 129 
Hill 311—175, 178, 203, 204, 206, 207 
Hill 342—104-106, 109-117, 123, 124, 129 
Hill 347-108 

Cloverleaf, 176-178, 229-231, 233, 236 
Observation, 175-178, 181, 184, 189, 190, 
191, 193, 195, 196, 229, 231, 233, 234, 236 
Red Slash, 179 

Hodge, LtGcn John R., USA, 10, 14, 15 

Hodge, TSgt Paul A., 200 

Houfhton.'Capt Kenneth j., 144, 146 
Hungary, 10 
Hwachon, 32 
Hwayong-ni, 229-231 

Iceland, 53 
Il-li, 215 

Inchon, 17, 40, 42, 56, 98, 210, 211, 237, 236, 

lngvolstad, LtCdr Orlando, jr., USN, 194 
Intelligence, U. S.: 
Army, 20, 23w 

Captured NK documents, 17, 29 
Japanese maps, 127 
POW interrogations, 28, 29, 31 
Italy, 8 

Itami, Japan, 62, 65, 89 

Air Force Base, 60, 87, 89, 90 
Itafculce, Japan, 243 

Airfield, 90, 141 
"Iron Curtain, " 10 
Iwo Jima, 51, 52 

Jamaica, HMS, 40 
James, Cpl Melvin, 121, 121« 
Japan, 1-4, 6-9, 41, 43, 45, 46, 56, 57, 61 map, 
62, 87, 89, 211, 243 
Celestial Empite, 4 

Russian WWII declaration of wat on, 9 

U. S. occupation of, WWII, 9 

Japan sea, 41 

Kamika%t tactics ot, 2 
Jaskilka, Capt Samuel, 217, 221, 224 
Johnston, 2dLt Thomas H., 191, 192 
Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), 48, 49, 57-60 
joint Operations Center ( JOC), 141 
joy, VAdm C. Turner, USN, 41, 48, 49, 53, 

56,57, 70, 211 
Juneau (CL), USS, 40, 47 

Kaechon, 31 
Kaesong, 32, 39 
Kanggye, 31 
Kang-ni, 227, 229 
Kapyong, 40 

Karig, Capt Walter, USNR, 40m 

Kean, MajGen William B., USA, 45, 88, 92, 

99, 101, 105, 112, 124, 147, 207 
Kciser, MajGen Lawrence B., USA, 212, 213. 

215, 229 

Kim II Sung, Red Korean prime minister, 16, 
22, 23, 25 

Kim Mu Chong, LtGcn, NKPA, 19, 20, 25 

Kim Sung Chu, 23 

KimUng, LtGen, NKPA, 24 

King, Maj GeorgeJ., 141h 

King, Capt George W., 12.8 

Kipling, Rudyard, 6 

Khtrcdge, Capt George E., Jr., Ill 



Klein, Lt Qgj Chester L„ USN, 194 
Kobe, Japan, 60, 64, 65, 89, 90, 210 
Kochang, 67, 68, 6&n 

Korea, 1-4, 6-B, 10, 11 map, 14-17, 19-21, 23, 
24, 32, 17, 41-41, 45-47, 51, 53, 56, 58-60, 
61 map, 62, 63, 65, 70, 87-90, 96, 97, 1 26, 
127, 141, 150, 173, 209, 210, 242, 243 
American landing in, 1S71, 3 
Annexation of by Japan, 1910, 7 
Civil War in, 14, 23. Sti also Republic of 
Korea and North Korean Peoples Demo- 
cratic Republic 
Conflict in, historical background, 3 
Japanese possession, 1 
North, Sa People's T 
Partition of, 10 
People's Army. See People's Democratic 

Republic of 
People's Democratic Republic of, 12, 14, 16, 
16», 19, 20, 21, 34, 36, 114-116, 120, 
123, 135, 136, 174, 183, 193, 200, 201, 
203, 217, 220, 224, 228, 231, 234, 235, 

Agrarian Reform 16, 21 

People's Army, 19, 20, 22, 23n, 67, 98, 

104, 108, 128, 135, 173, 200. 203, 212, 


Air Force, 29 
armament, 21 

Aviation Section of Pyongyang Military 

Academy, organization of, 29 
Casualties, 239 

Commander in Chief. See Kim II Sung 

conscription program of, 31 

Decoration "Hero of the Korean Demo- 
cratic People's Republic'", 25; "Order 
of the National Flag, 1st Class", 25 

Deputy Commander in Chief. See 
Choc Yong Gun, Marshal, NKPA 

Division Headquarters, organization of, 

First Amphibious Operation inKorea,39 
Front Headquarters, organization of, 26 
infantry division, organization of, 27 
invasion of South Korea, 32, 37, 44 map 
Order of Battle in, 35 map 
organizatioo of, 26 
rifle regiment, organization of, 27 
rifle company, organization of, 27 
rifle platoon, organization of, 27 
spies, 22 
strength of, 213 
training of, 22, 31, 32 

I Corp, 25 

II Corps, 25 
HI Corps, 25 

105th Armored Division, 21, 29, 32, 

1st Infantry Division, 20, 25, 32, 39 
2d Infantry Division, 20, 21, 32, 39, 

3d Infantry Division, 20, 30, 32, 39 
4th Infantry Division, 21, 32, 39, 174, 

175, 186, 196, 203, 214, 228, 240 
5th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 32, 39 
6th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 32, 39, 

96-9A, 100, 106, 108, 112, 117, 124, 

147, 153. 239 
7th Infantry Division, 21, 22 
8th Infantry Division, 21, 22 
9th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 214, 

216, 219, 227 
10th Infantry Division, 215 
12th Infantry Division, 21, 22 
13th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 33 
14th Infantry Division, 21, 22 
15th Infantry Division, 21, 22, 32, 33, 

10th Mechanized Infantry Division, 
21, 22 

849th Anti-tank Regiment, 29 
5th Infantry Regiment, 174 
6th Infantry Regiment, 96 
13 th Infantry Regiment, 96, 117 
14th Infantry Regiment, 96 
15th Infantry Regiment, 96, 117 
16th Infantry Regiment, 174 
lBth Infantry Regiment, 174, 182. 190, 

206th Mchanized Infantry Regiment, 
29, 30 

107th Medium Tank Regiment, 29, 

109th Medium Tank Regiment, 29 
203d Medium Tank Regiment, 29 
83d Motorcycle Regiment, 96-98, 139, 

147, 239 
308th Armored Battalion, 29 

Aviation Society, 28 

Labor Party of, 25 

Minister of National Defense. Stt Choc 

Yong Gun, Marshal, NKPA. 
Navy. 40 

People's Assembly at Pyongyang, 15 

Prime Minister. See Kim II Sung 
Supreme People's Council, 16, 24 
population of, 42 

Republic of, 15, 16, 16n, 21-23, 26, 33, 34, 

36-38, 47, 62, 67, 214 
American Military Government of, 15 
army, 16, 33, 34, 40, 45 
Army units: 

Capital Division, 34, 214 

1st Infantry Division, 34, 214 

2d Infantry Division, 34 

3d Infantry Division, 34, 36, 214 


The Vusan Perimeter 

Korea— Continued 

Republic of— Continued 
Army units — Continued 
5th Infantry Division, 34, 36 
6th Infantry Division, 34, 214 
7th Infantry Division, 34 
8th Infantry Division, 34, 114 
17th Regiment, 34 
Interim Legislature of, 15 
invasion of, 17, map front endpaper 
National Assembly of, 15, 16 
Navy units: 1st Korean Marine Regiment, 

Security Force, 15 
Russian Occupation of, 1945, 10, 19, 20 
South. Sti Republic of 
Terrain, 42 

trusteeship of, 2, 14, 15 

United States occupation of, 10, 16 

Volunteer Army, 19, 20, 2.3 
Kosong, 100, 131, 132, 135-137, 139, 140, 143 

148, 156, 244 
Kosong Turkey Shoot, 139, 146 
Kremlin, 19, 21, 23 
Krulak, Col Victor H., 49, 53 
Kumchon, 67, 68 
Kum River, 46, 96, 97, 171 
Kumwan, 68h 
Kunsan, 96, 97, 238 
Kurtz, SSgt Charles F., Jr., 135 
Kwangju, 36, 97 
Kyoto, 60 

Landrum, Col Eugene M., USA, 65, 68, 88, 92 
Latham, Henry J., 159 pk. 
Latvia, 10 

Lawson, TSgt Frank J., 197 
League of Nations, 37 
Lee Hwal, Col, NKPA, 28 
Lenin, Nickolai, 13 
Lennon, 2d Lt Thomas P., 206 
Liaotung Peninsula, 4, 7, 8 

Russian 25-year lease of, 6 
Lischeid, LtCol Walter E., 98 
Lischcski, TSgt F. J., 144n, 147 
"Long March", 25 
Luedoeke, Lt Gustave F., 101 
Lund, Maj Arnold A., 90, 139, 140 

MacArthur, Gen of the Army Douglas, 9, 33, 
38, 40, 45, 48, 49, 53, 56-60, 62, 210, 211, 
239, 240 

McMullen, TSgt Orval F., 191, 195, 200, 220, 

McNecly, Maj Morgan J., 113, 132, 135 
Macy, Sgt Jack, 110 
Main Supply Route (MSR): 
enemy, 47 

Matine, 94, 104, 106, 111, 112, 115, 117 120, 
12Q«, 122-124, 129, 135, 136, 143. 151, 
156, 175, 177-179, 181, 182, 190, 193, 195, 
196, 203, 216-222, 224, 225, 227-229, 

Manchukuo, 8. Sit alia Manchuria. 
Manchuria, 4, 7-10, 13, 20, 21, 23, 24, 31. Sit 

ttlM Manchukuo. 
puppet state in, 8 
Russia in (World War II), 9 
MaoTse-tung, 12, 14, 25 
Marines, U, S., 3, 47, 52, 53, 56-58, 62-65, 70, 

90, 92, 105, 106, 108, 113, 1)6, 119, 123, 

125, 128, 129. 157 pic, 176, 182, 183, 240, 


Air, 60, 62, 70, 98, 122, 132, 134, 186, 190, 

207, 229, 240 
Air crews, 168 fk. 

Air-ground team, 57, 68, 89, 91, 99, 238, 239, 

Air Support Section, 87, 99 

Equipment, 51 

Expansion program, 58 

Ground forces, 53, 54, 60, 62, 65, 70, 88, 93, 

95, 98, 108, 140, landing of, 90 
request for, 47 


1st Marine Aircraft Wing, 48, 89 

2d Marine Aircraft Wing, 48 

Marine Air Group-33, 49, 53, 60, 64, 68, 

87. 90, 116, 122, 136, 140, 141, 181, 186, 

187, 193, 203, 204, 221, 233, 242, 243 
VMF-214, 89, 98, 141, 243 
VMF-323,89, 90, 98,139-143 
VMF(N>513, 90, 141, 230, 230b, 243 
VMO-6, 50, 66, 70, 89, 90, 95, 101, 110, 

126, 140, 141, 194, 208, 209, 222, 224, 

233, 243 

Marine Tactical Air Control Squadron Two 
(MTACS-2), 89, 95, 141, 142 

Marine Heliocopter Squadron (Experimen- 
tal) One (HMX-1), 50 


Fleet Marine Force, 48, 141 

Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, 48, 59 

Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, 48, 55, 56, 63, 87 

V Amphibious Corps, 52 

l$t Marine Division, 48, 52, 56, 58, 59, 60, 
87, 210, 211, 213, 216 

2d Marine Division, 48 

lsc Provisional Marine Brigade, 49, 50, 52- 
60 62-65, 68, 70, 87-93, 96, 98-101, 103, 
105 108, 111, 112, 124-126, 129, 136, 141, 
148, 152, 155, 173, 175, 176, 178, 186, 194, 
207-209, 211, 212, 219, 222, 229, 234, 235, 
237-244; Action on Southwestern Front, 
7-13 Aug 50, 102 map; activation of, 49; 



Marines, U. S.— Continued 

1st Provisional Marine Brigade — Con. 
Advance Parry, 56, 62, 65, 70; air compo- 
nent, number of personnel, 51; air- 
ground team, 56, 140, 141; departure of, 
54, 55; expansion of, 60; ground forces, 
number of personnel, 51; ground elements, 
64, 141; mobilization of, 59; Observation 
Section, organization of, 141; rear echelon, 

1st Marine Regiment, 210 

5th Marine Regiment, 49-52, 91, 94, 105, 

126, 177-179, 194, 195, 209-211, 213, 216, 
217, 221, 236; CO. Ste Murray, LtCol 
Raymond L,; organization of, 49; 4.1- 
inch Mortar Company, 105; Anti-Tank 
Company, 103, 193, 221 

1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 63, 93, 94, 111, 
119, 123-125, 127-129, 144, 147, 148, 152, 
178, 179, 187, 189, 194, 196, 197, 206, 216, 
217, 219, 221, 224, 225, 227-231, 233, 235- 
237; CO. Ste Newton, LtCol George R. 

Company A, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 127, 
129, 190-193, 195-198, 146, 155, 200, 201, 

203, 219 -225, 227, 229-231, 236, 237 
Company B, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, 123, 

127, 129, 144, 146, 147, 153, 155, 189-193, 

195, 197, 198, 200, 219-222, 225, 227, 229- 
231, 234-237 

Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 5th 
Marines, 127, 189, 190, 193 

Anri-tank assault platoon, 193 

2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 94, 110, 114, 116, 
117, 119, 120, 129, 131, 132, 142, 148, 152, 
178, 179, 181-184, 186, 187, 189, 192, 194, 

196. 200, 206, 216, 217, 221, 222, 224, 227; 
CO, stt Roise, LtCol H. S. 

Company D, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 112- 
117, 131, 132, 181-184, 189, 190, 217, 221, 
224, 227, 228 

Company E, 2d Battalion, 5th Marines, 111, 
113, 114, 116, 181, 183, 184, 186, 190, 217, 
221, 224, 227 

Weapons Company, 2d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, 117 

3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 94, 103-106, 110, 
111, 119, 120, 122, 129, 132, 135-137, 139, 
142, 144, 148, 150-152, 177-179, 196, 206, 
216, 227, 229, 231, 233, 236, 237; CO. 
Set Taplett, LtCol Robert D. 

Company G, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 104, 
106, 111, 112, 114, 119, 121, 122, 132, 135, 
136, 151, 201, 203, 204, 206, 227, 228, 230, 
231, 233 

Company H, 3d Battalion, 5th Marines, 104, 
111, 119-122, 135-137, 143, 151, 201, 203, 

204, 206, 228, 230, 231 

Weapons Company, 3d Battalion, 5th 
Marines, 230 

7th Marine Regiment, 210 

9th Marine Regiment, 52 

1st Battalion, 11th Marines, 51, 92, 103, 

116, 122, 125, 126, 136, 139, 152, 176, 182, 

187, 203, 208, 212, 222, 227, 228, 233 
Company A, 1st Engineer Battalion, 51, 103, 

119, 128, 156, 195, 201, 219, 225, 227 
Company A, 1st Tank Battalion, 50, 63, 187, 

192, 193, 203, 204, 222, 234 
Company A, 1st Motor Ttansporr Battalion, 

1st Amphibious Tractor Company, 63 
Company A, 1st Shore Party Battalion, 143 
Company C, 1st Medical Battalion, 143 
Brigade Reconnaissance Company Detach- 
ment, 105, 131, 144, 227 
Brigade Medical Section, 143 
Combat Service Detachment, 92 
Brigade Air Section, 110 
Malaria and Epidemic Control Unit, 194 
First Replacement Draft, activation of, 60 
Marine Corps, U. S., 48, 50, 52, 56-58, 60, 92, 
144, 147, 151, 153. Steals* Marines, U. S. 
Air Station, El Toro, California. See El 

Toro, California 
Hymn, 91 

Organized Reserve, mobilization of, 58 

Schools. Set Quanrico, Vitginia 

Supply Depot, Barstow, California, 51, 63 

Martin, Col Robert R., USA, 46 

Marx, Karl, 13 

Masan, 66, 70, 88, 93, 94, 96, 97 , 99, 100, 103, 

104, 120, 122, 123, 143, 148, 207 
Medical Aid Stations, 194 
Mediterranean, 210n 

Mediterranean Fleet. Ste Navy, U. S., 6tn 

Matthews, Francis P., 48 
Mcsanjin, 31 

MichacJis, Col John H., USA, 105, 106 

Millar, TSgt Stanley G., 192 

Miryang, 152, 173, 176, 177, 194, 211, 212; 

River, 173 
Mokpo, 97, 98 
Mokpu, 42, 97 
Mongolia, 8, 10 
Mongols, 10, 20 
Montross, Lynn J., 50b, 54« 
Morgan, TSgt Ray, 121 

Moscow, 1, 9, 10, 12, 13, 22, 23, 26; Confctencc, 

1945, 141 
Muses, Captain Vivian, 140 
Muccio, Ambassador John J., 15, 33, 34, 37 
Mueuel, 2dLt Francis W., 158 pc, 190b, 196», 

198, 217, 220, 222, 224, 233b, 236, 237 
Mukden, 7, Battle of, 7, 13 
Munsan, 39 

Murray, LtCol Raymond L., 51-53, 63, 65, 
65b, 70, 90, 91, 91s, 101, 111, 112, 122, 124, 
124n, 125, 127, 127n, 128, 128b, 129, 131, 

The Pusan Perimeter 

Murray, LtCol Raymond L. — Continued 
132, 135, 143, 148», 152, 176, 177-179, 186, 
186s, 187, 196, 201, 213 , 216, 217 , 227, 229, 

230, 233 

Myong-ni, 216, 217, 221, 224, 228 

Naktong, 96, 174, 214, 215, 237, 239, 240, 241; 
Bulge, 150. 173, 174, 175, 180, 185 map, 

203, 206, 212, 213, 215, 240, 241, 243; 
River, 47, 66-68, 88, 150, 172 pic, 203, 
207, 215, 231, 240 

First Battle of, 17-19 Aug 50, 173-206, 199 
map, 202 map, 205 map; 1st Provisional 
Marine Brigade Objective One, 129, 176- 
179, 192, 195, 198; Objective Two, 178, 
201, 203, 204; Objective Three, 178, 179, 

204, 206 

Second Battle of, 3-6 Sep 50, 207-235, 218 
map, 223 map, 232 map; 1st Provisional 
Marine Brigade Objective One, 217, 220, 
221, 227, 229; Objective Two, 222 

Nam 11, LtGen, NKPA, 24, 25 

Nam River, 88 

Namwon, 97 

Nanking, 23 

Nanam, 20, 31 

Naval Blockade: United Nations, 40; U. S., of 

Formosa, 41; of Korean Coast, 41 
Naval Forces in the Far East, 41 
Naval Supply Depot, Oakland, California, 64 
Naval Support, U. S., 47 
Navy, U. S f i 

Sixth Fleet, U. S., 58, 210s 

Seventh Fleet, U, S., 41, 211 

Task Force 77, 47 

Task Group 53.7, 63, 64, 89-91 

Task Group 96.5, 40 

PhibGroup One, 211 

Amphibious Planning Group 1, 53 

Task Unit 53.7.3, 63 
Nazi invasion of Russia, 8 
Nelson, Lt(jg) Bentley G., USN, 194 
Newsweek, 39» 

Newton, LtCol George R., 93, 94, 119, 123, 
123n, 124, 124s, 125, 127, 128, 129, 146, 147, 
155, 187, 189, 191, 195, 198, 200, 201, 217, 
217s, 219, 221, 222. 224, 225 

New York Times, 16s 

No Name Ridge, 179, 180 

Nonsan, 174 

Oakley, 2dLt Arthur A., 113-115 
Obong-ni, 183, 184 

Obong-ni Ridge, 162 pic, 175-179, 181, 185 
map, 187, 191-196, 199 map, 200-203, 206, 

231, 233, 234, 236 

Obregon, PFC Eugene A,, 161 pic. 
ODonncll, MajGen Emmett, USAF, 47 
Offensive, Sachon, 145 map, 148 map 
Okinawa, 41, 46, 51 

Oliver, Robert T., 12» 

Olson, Maj Merlin R., 236, 237; LtCol 123s, 

124m, 125s, 129s, 217s, 233« 
O'Mahoncy, Maj Thomas J., 92 
Ongjin Peninsula, 17, 32, 39 
"Open Door" Policy, 6 
Osaka, 60 
Osan, 45, 74 
Oso-ri, 127, 128 

Pacific Ocean, 7, 8 

Paedun-ni, 100, 127, 129, 131, 132, \49 map 

Pang, MajGen, NKPA, 97 

Partridge, MajGen Earle E,, USAF, 66, 70 

Patton, Gen George S., USA, 45 

Pearl Harbor, T. H., 55 

Peiping, 24 

Pcleliu, 210 

Pendleton, Camp Joseph H., California, 48-51, 

51s, 52, 53, 87, 90 
Pentagon, 41, 57, 59, 60 
Perry, Commodore Matthew C, 3 
Pescadores Group, 4 
Peters, SSgt Carl W,, 168 pic 
Philippine Islands, 6, 41 
Pickaway (APA), USS, 53, 63, 65, 91 
Plan Able, 58, 60 
Plan Baker, 58 
Pochon, 39 

Pohang-dong, 46, 47, 67, 96 
Poland, 10, 38 
"Police Action", 39 

Pomcroy, IstLt William D., 129, 204, 234, 235 
Port Arthur. 4, 7 

Potsdam Conference, July 1947, 9s 
Pugok, 131 

Pusan, 18, 42, 47, 62, 65-67, 70, 87-89, 92, 93, 
95-97, 99, 141, 173, 208-211, 213, 214, 
Harbor, 89, 91 

Perimeter, 57, 96, 142, 150, 174, 210, 211, 
213, 214, 236, 237, 239-242, 244. Ste 
map inside back cover 

Terminal, 91 

University, 237 
Pyongyang, 4, 12, 14-16, 16s, 20-24, 26, 29, 
34 47 214 

Military' Academy, 28, 30,31 

Quantico, Virginia, 50, 52 

Radford, Adm Arthur W„ USN, 48, 49 

Reeves, MSgt Harold, 116 

Regimental Combat Team (RCT). See Army 

units, Marine units 
Reid, 2dLt Wallace J., 113, 115 
Reinburg, Maj Joseph H., 230 
Rhodes, IstLt Nye G,, 158 pic 
Richards, IstLt Wayne E., 195 
Robinson, SSgt Robert, 10B 



Rake, LtCol Harold S., 94, L10, 111, llln, 
111-114, 116, 129, 131, 132, 178, 1B1, 189, 
216, 217, 219, 221, 222 

Roosevelt, President Franklin D., 2, 3 

Rumania, 10 

Russell, Maj John W., 189 

Russia, 1, 2, 4, 6-8, 13, 140; Czarist, 6; Nazi 

invasion of, 8. See also Union of Soviet 

Socialist Republics 

Baltic Fleet, 7 
Russian-Japanese Border Clashes, 8 
Russian revolution of 1917, 8, 13 
Russo-Japanese War, 3, 6 

Sachon, 98, 100, 122, 125, 129, 136, 140, 142- 

144, 146-148, 156, 239 
Sachon Offensive, 130 map, 133 Map, 134 map 
Sachon Offensive Situation Map, 149 
Sadong, 31 

Saint Johns Military Academy, 52 

Sakhalin island, 7, 8 
Samchok, 40 
Samchonpo, 156 
San Clemenrc Island, 63 
San Diego, California, 53, 63, 210 
Sangnyong-ni, 112, 113, 124, 128, 129 
Sasebo, Japan, 60, 64 
Schryver, IsrLt Hugh C, 144, 190 
Scott, Hugh D„ Jr., 159 pic. 
Scbilian, IstLc Robert C, 191 
Secretary of the Navy. See Matthews, Francis 

Seoul, 6, 32, 34, 37, 38, 40, 42, 46, 96, 98, 174 
attack on, 39 
fall of, 40 

Russian legation at, 6 

strafing of, 17 

University, 208, 214 
Shepherd, LtGen Lemuel C, Jr., 49, 53, 55, 

158 fit, 
Sharp, Capt L. D., Jr., 64b 
Sherman, Adm Forrest P., USN, 48, 49, 58, 60 
Sherman, Gen William T., USA, 54 
Shinka, 2dLt M. J., 181n, 182, 183 

American: LSTQ0119, 143 

Enemy: Torpedo Boat, 39 
Siban-ni, 98 
Sibctia, 9, 21 

Si/city (CVE), USS, 90, 95, 98, 142 

Simpson, PFC Benjamin C, 192 

Sinchon, 31 

Singi, 123, 124 

"Si no- Japan esc War", 4, 6 

Sinuiju, 20, 21, 31, 12 

Sinuiju Airfield, 28 

Skclt, IstLt Ernest P., 238 

Smith, LtCol Charles B., USA, 45 

Smith, IstLt H. J., 221, 224 

Smith, IstLt James W., 146 

Smith, MajGen Oliver P., 159 pic, 210 211 

Smolensk, 24 

Sncdcker, Col Edward W., 65, 70, 90, 91, 219 

Snyder, IstLr Joris J., 230 

Soviet Russia. See Union of Soviet Socialist 

Spain, 37 

Spanish-American War, 1898, 6 

Sporrer, LtComdr Otto E., USN, 195, 219 

Stalin, Joseph, 1-3, 8, 9, 13 

Stalingrad, Battle of, 10, 19, 23, 24 

Stephens, Cpl Raymond E., 224 

Stevens, Capt John R., 191, 192, 192n, 195, 

197, 198, 200, 201, 217, 219, 220, 222, 224; 

Maj. 144m, 146, 190n, 196m, 233m 
Stewart, Maj Frank R., Jr., 213, 214n 
Stewart, Col J. L., 55, 56m, 62m, 65, 65s, 66, 

66m, 68n, 70, 70b, 87, 87b, 88, 91, 91m, 99, 

100, 100m, 101, 148, 150, 151, 178n, 208, 216, 

217, 219, 237n, 244 
Strategic triangle. See China-Russia-Japan 

Strategy, Communist; 

"end run," 65, 67 

United Nations: delaying action, 40, 45, 46, 

Srratcmcyer, LtGen George E., USAF, 41, 60 
Struble, VAdm Arthur D.. USN, 41, 211 
Summers, PFC Ralph J. , 161 pic. 
Sunam-dong, 136 
Sunchon, 97 
Suwon, 40, 41, 45 

Sweeney, IstLt William E., 113, 114, 181b, 
184, 191 

Sweet, 2dLt Granville G., 192, 193, 222 
Syngman, Dr. Rhee, 1, 15, 33, 158 pic, 209 
Syngman, Madame Rhee, 209 

Tactical Air Control Center, U. S. Air Force 

(TACC), 141 
Tactical Air Control Party, 110, 139 
NKPA. 25 
air, 22 
artillery, 22 
tank, 22 
Soviet cold-war, 39 
Tacdabok Pass, 131, 132 
Taegu, 36, 65, 66, 70, 88, 90, 92, 96, 98, 141, 

173, 213, 240, 241 
Taejon, 36, 40, 46, 67, 174, 175 
Tacpyong-ni, 110, 113, 114 
Taesil-li, 127, 128, m map 
Tanehong-ni, 143 

Taprctt, LtCol Robert D., 103-105, 105m, 110, 
111, 119, 122, 132, 135, 135n, 136, 143, 148, 
150-152, 177, 178, 201, 201m. 204, 206, 216, 
227w, 228, 230, 233, 233m, 236 

Tarawa, 53 


The Pusan Perimeter 

Tartars, 10 

Tavlor, IscLt David S., 147, 190 
Tcnnant, Lt William G., USN, 194 
Terrio, PFC Donald, 121, 121« 
Thirty-eighth Parallel, 10, 12, 14-17, 21, 32, 

37-39, 42, 59 
Tobin, Captjohn L., 123, 125, 144, 146, 153, 

155, 189, 190 
Togo, Adm, Japanese, 7 
Tofckong-ni, 113, 117 

Tokyo, 41, 43, 49, 56, 59, 60, 62, 65, 210, 211, 

213, 216 
Tompkins, Pauline, 6n 

Tosan, 100, 103, 111, 112, 123, 124, 129, 149 

Transportation : 
motor transport, 55 
American : 

cargo trucks, 88 

jeeps, 131, 140 

M-44 armored personnel carriers, 151 

motorcycles, 140 

2^-ton trucks, 131 

Army trucks, 93, 177 

Marine truck, 166 pic. 
enemy, 139, 140 

motorcycles, 139, 140, 158 pic. 
Trans-Siberian Railroad, 4 
Treaties : 

Japan-England, treaty of alliance, 1902, 6 
Japan-Korea, treaty of amity, 1887, 4 
Portsmouth, treaty of, 5 September 1905, 7 
Russia-China treaty of alliance, 1896, 4 
Russia-China, treaty of alliance, 1902, 6 
Russia-Japan, 1896, 7 
Russia-Japan, 1898, 7 

Russia-Nationalist China treaty of friend- 
ship, 8, 13 

Triple Intervention (Russia-Germany-France), 

Truce of the Bear, 6 

Truman, President Harry S., 15, 38, 41, 45, 49, 

Trygve Lie (U. N. Secretary-General), 37 

battle of, 13 

fall of, 13 

battle of, 7 

Straits, 90 

Tugok, 175-177, 179, 182, 186, 189, 190, 193, 
196, 234, 236 

Uffelman, IstLt Paul R., 184 
Uijongbu, 39, 194 

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 1, 2, 6, 8, 
9, 13, 14, 22, 25, 38, 64 
American Joint Commission, 15 
army, 22 

army of occupation, 24 

Nationalist China treaty of friendship and 

alliance, 1945, 13 
withdrawal of occupation troops in Korea, 

United Nations, 15, 16, 34, 37-39, 214 
Commander. See MacArthur, Gen Douglas 
Commission on Korea, 15, 38 
Ground Forces, 66 
forces, 96, 141, 228, 241, 243 
General Assembly, 15 
Naval blockade, 40 
Security Council, 38, 45, 240 
United States, 1, 3, 8, 13-15, 33, 34, 38, 40, 42, 

50, 60 
air-ground team, 48, 49 
ground forces, 45-47, 120 

commitment of, 38 

first enemy contact by, 45 
Lend Lease, 140 

Naval blockade of Korean coast, 41 

Valley Forge (CV), USS, 48 
Valmy, Battle of, 7 
Van Orman, LtCol Ellswotth G,, 91 
Vasilev, LtGcn, Russian, 22, 23 
Vladivostok, 4, 21 
Occupation of by Japan, 8 

Waegwan, 67, 96 

Walker, LtGen Walton H., USA, 45, 57, 62, 
65-67, 70, 88, 89, 91, 92, 100, 104, 174 

Wang Yun, Col, NKPA, 29 

Wang Yun, MajGen, NKPA, 29 

Washington, D. C, 48, 49, 52, 58 

Washington, University of, 52 

Weapons : 
enemy : 

antitank guns, 117, 131, 132, 137, 192, 2» 

automatic weapons, 131 

"burp guns," 113. See also automatic 

hand grenades, 120, 183 
howitzers, 122mm, 207 
machine guns, 117, 124, 131, 135, 182-184 
machine gun, 7.62-mm., 30 
mortar, 111 
mortar, 120-mm., 230 
rifle, 85-mm., 30, 193, 221 
self-propelled guns, 76-mm., 29 
semi-automatic pistol, Tokarev, 21 
small arms, 140, 155. 216, 224 
tanks, Russian-made, 16 
tank, T-34, 21, 30, 45, 46, 63, 162 pic- 
Hi, 193, 208, 216, 221, 222, 228, 234 
United States: 
guns, 20-mm., 140 
guns, 75-mm., 46 

guns, 90-mm., 50, 132, 137, 192, 193, 203, 


21 I 

Weapons— Continued i 
United States — Continued 
howitzers, 105-mm., 46, 50, 55, 126, 139, 

171 pie., 182, 240 
howitzers, 155-mm., 46 
machine guns, .50-caliber, 143 
mortars, 60-mm., 114, 116, 131, 135, 153, 

182, 197, 236 
mortars, 81-mm., 117, 155, 184, 197, 200, 

206, 220, 230, 235, 236 
mortar, 4.2-inch, 105, 155, 184 
rifle, 75-mm. recoil less, 104, 183, 193, 204, 

219, 221 
rifle, M-l, 238 
rockets, air, 168 pic 
rocket, 2.36", 194 
rocket, 5-inch, 47 
rocket launchers, 3.5", 46, 52, 153 
tanks, 143, 157 pic, 160 pic, 167 
tanks, light, 46, 150, 151 
tanks, M-24, 43 

tanks, M-26 "Pershing," 50, 63, 93, 129, 
137, 144, 163 pic, 192, 193, 203, 217, 
219, 222, 234, 235 

tanks, M4A3 medium, 50 

supporting arms, 171 pie. 
Weir, Col Kenneth H., 56b, 62m, 87, 89, 95 
Westerman, IstLt Jack, 132, 135 
Whampoa Military Academy, 23, 24 
Wheatley, SSgrJohn I., 121 
White, Sgt Bryan K„ 225 
Wbittssds (AKA), USS, 53 
Williams, 2dLt John O., 120, 121, 203 

Winter, 2dLt Robert M., 217, 219, 222 
Wirth, IdLt Leroy K., 116, 182, 189 
"Wolfhounds." Jee 27th Infantry Regiment 
Wonsan, 21 

Wood, LtCol Ransom H., 51, 94, 126, 178 
World War I, 7, 10, 52, 53 

Armistice ending, 8 
World War II, 1, 8, 10, 13, 19, 24-26, 37, 38, 

43, 45, 48, 50-54, 56, 109, 140, 173 
Wright, MSgt Edward A., 190 
Wright, BrigGen Edwin K, ( USA, 56, 62, 211 

Yaban-san, 105, 112, 117, 119 

conference, 2 

agreement, 8 
Yalu River, 4, 21, 42, 47; battle of, 7 
Yellow Sea, 41, 98 

Yenan, 19, 23, 25; Military School, 23, 25 
Yonchon, 39 
Yongdok, 96 
Yongdungpo, 38, 96 

Yongsan, 164 fir., 174, 175, 196, 212, 216, 217, 

222, 237 
Yosu, 97 

Young, 2dLt James R., 230 
Yugoslavia, 38 

Yu Kyong Su, LtGen, NKPA, 25 

Zimmer, Capt Andrew M., 116, 116b, 117, 
117», 129b, 131, 132. 181, ISln, 182, 183, 
189, 189b 


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